Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington traded endless trash talk ahead of their December, 2019 welterweight title fight. Yet after the fight, which the champ Usman won by fifth-round TKO, there seems to be a sliver of respect between the two — at least in terms of their skills.
Speaking on the Joe Rogan Experience recently, Usman shared his belief that he and Covington are the two best welterweights on earth and acknowledged that, after their 2019 war, they will probably meet again in the future.
“He really showed how good he is, and I give respect when respect is due,” Usman said (via MMA Junkie). “I’m no hater. I know he could fight. I know he was good. I knew he was tough and I knew he was a competitor, as well. He’s always been a competitor.”
“He’s a tough guy, and at the end of the day, to make fantastic fights, you got to have the right dance partner, and he was the right dance partner. To be honest with you, if I didn’t take too much out of him – because each fight takes something from you internally – so if I didn’t take too much from him, I think I might see him again, to be honest, because it’s clear that we are the best two guys in the division, and so yeah, I look forward to seeing him again.”
By the time Usman finished Covington in the fifth round, one cage-side judge had the fight scored in his favor, another had the fight going Covington’s way, while the third gave them two rounds a piece.
Suffice it to say that it was dangerously close fight.
Usman acknowledges the fight was tight, but always believed a finish would materialize.
“I knew it was close because for the first time ever, I asked my coaches, ‘Did I win that round?’” Usman said. “I’ve never in my career done that. I’m the type of guy even when I was wrestling, I’m the type of wrestler who – I like to run up the scoreboard. I don’t like to leave any doubt that I won that round. I’m going to dominate that round. I’m going to make sure I won, so in my head, I know I won, I don’t need to ask. For the first time in my career I went back, I’m like, ‘Did I win that round?’”
“Even by me asking that, I never thought, ‘Oh, I’m not going to finish this fight.’ I always knew I was going to finish the fight.”
Who do you think would win a rematch between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 1/30/2020.