Covington is expected to face Usman at UFC 244 in New York in November, which culminates a rivalry that stretches back more than four years according to the former interim title holder.
It was just after “The Ultimate Fighter” season 21 wrapped up with Usman defeating Hayder Hassan by second round arm triangle choke to secure a victory for his team at the Blackzilians over the fighters from American Top Team.
Covington has represented the Florida based gym his entire career and he saw Usman’s win as an opportunity to step up to a challenge.
“I can’t wait to bury that guy,” Covington said. “Me and Dan Lambert were calling for that fight as soon as he won “The Ultimate Fighter” and he beat my teammates at American Top Team. We were begging for that fight and him and Glenn [Robinson] turned that fight down.”
Now there are more than a few conflicting stories regarding attempts to put Covington into the same cage with Usman over the past four years but now the two welterweights are on a collision course that seems unavoidable.
Timing has been the biggest delay recently after Usman underwent double-hernia surgery following his title fight win over Tyron Woodley back in March that was going to keep him sidelined until the latter part of 2019.
Of course, Covington doesn’t buy that injury either and instead believes Usman is just further delaying the inevitable fight between them. He specifically points to an encounter they had the day after his win over Woodley when the two fighters nearly came to blows while standing in a line for food at a hotel in Las Vegas.
“It’s time to unify my belt with Marty Fakenewsman,” Covington said referencing Usman. “This fight has so many angles. The Palms buffet line, look at Marty Fakenewsman, he was faking an injury when he fought [Tyron] Woodley. He’s in a wheelchair after the fight with Woodley, acting like he’s hurt getting wheelchaired to the press conference and eight hours later he’s jumping me in the Palms buffet line, jumping over barricades, pushing a pregnant late out of the way to get to me.”
“It just shows how fake he is. He’s the CNN of the UFC.”
Covington’s inflammatory statements have made him one of the most hated men in all of mixed martial arts but his performances inside the Octagon have also forced everyone to recognize him as a legitimate threat to the title.
Following his jaw-dropping win over Robbie Lawler in early August, the 31-year old former NCAA All-American wrestler put a lot of people on notice that no matter what you feel about him, it’s getting awfully hard to discount his current seven-fight win streak including victories over two former UFC champions.
“I feel really bad for my friends because when the Usman [betting] line first came out, I was like a 3-to-1 underdog and all my friends were going to get rich,” Covington said. “Now I feel bad, now that the world’s seen what I’m capable of, the Vegas lines are sharp. It’s probably going to be a pick ‘em. I mean it should be me as a 3-to-1 favorite but they put credibility in Usman’s win over Woodley, which is a joke. Because Woodley’s not even a top 20 fighter anymore.”
“But I feel bad because I wanted everybody to get rich when I dust up Marty Fakenewsman and honestly leave him unconscious and he has to leave the Octagon on a stretcher but now my friends aren’t going to get rich. They’re only going to be able to make a little bit of money now that the world has seen what I’m truly capable of doing. It kind of sucks.”
If there’s one thing certain about this upcoming welterweight title fight it’s that neither Covington or Usman will be short on motivation to get the job done when they finally clash.
“I’m seriously going to leave that dude f—king crippled. I’m going to f—k that dude up!”
“It’s too bad he was running from me for so many years. Now he has no choice. It’s either you fight me or you don’t fight at all. You lose your No. 1 contender belt and we don’t hear from you anymore and the world figures out the coward that you really are. He’s got nowhere to go. It’s put up or shut up.”