Kamaru Usman is a perfect 11-0 inside the Octagon and is coming off his first title defense back at UFC 245. There, “The Nigerian Nightmare” TKO’d Colby Covington in the fifth round in a very close fight. Yet, welterweight is arguably the most stacked division in the UFC so Usman has a tough road ahead of him.
When the UFC returns to normalcy, Usman’s next title defense will most likely come against Jorge Masvidal. “Gamebred” had a career resurgence in 2019 with three knockout wins and claiming the BMF title. Masvidal could pose some problems for the champ if the fight remains on standing. After that, Usman’s next couple of fights could come against Covington, Leon Edwards, and Tyron Woodley. So, who has the best chance to end his reign?
Usman has shown improved striking in the Woodley and Covington fights where he landed several powerful shots. He also attacks the body really well to slow down his opponents, which is where the champ has so much success is due to this cardio. Usman hasn’t seemed gassed in one fight and is the one always coming forward and putting the pressure on. He also mixes in his wrestling nicely which has caused problems for the likes of Demian Maia and Rafael dos Anjos.
Yet, as evident by his last fight, Colby Covington has the best chance to end Kamaru Usman’s reign. Entering the fifth round, many had “Chaos” up 3-1 on the scorecards or 2-2. No one has been that close to Usman in his UFC career, and what The Nigerian Nightmare does, Covington can do just as well.
In the wrestling aspect, they are both elite-level wrestlers where Usman has a 100% takedown defense. Covington, meanwhile, has a 78% takedown defense but also lands 52% of his takedowns compared to Usman’s 51%. They are practically even as the person Chaos lost to, Usman beat. The person Usman lost to before the UFC, Covington beat.
The similarities between the two are there. In a rematch, it would be expected the two would wrestle where that could make the difference. Covington has all the accolades of being a Division-1 wrestler. He also has the cardio to match Usman where he can be the one pushing the pace and looking to frustrate the champion.
On the feet, we saw Covington throw more volume, but it was Usman being the more powerful striker. In a rematch, that would most likely be the same, but even with the volume, Covington had hurt Usman in that fight.
Finally, the trash-talk Covington does certainly plays into it. Many thought he got into Usman’s head which is often a good thing in a fight and if he can do that again, it could lead to success.
There is no question they are the best two welterweights on the UFC roster and Colby Covington certainly has what it takes to end Usman’s reign.
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This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 4/16/2020.This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM