UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman lauded Colby Covington ahead of UFC 268, saying “I would put him in the top-15 welterweights of all time.”
Usman takes on Covington in a rematch at UFC 268 next month in what is expected to be one of the most highly-anticipated fights of the year. The two rivals previously met at UFC 245 two years ago, with Usman winning via fifth-round TKO in an absolute war between the two welterweights. Two years later and the two will rematch with Usman’s belt on the line at UFC 268. But while most people would assume that Usman is not a fan of Covington, you’d be wrong. Speaking to Helen Yee, Usman admitted that while he is not a fan of Covington’s personality, he can admit that he has a top-15 welterweight of all time.
“He’s definitely up there. I’m no hater, I give props where props are due. I think Colby probably is, I would put him in the top-15 welterweights of all time, as far as fighter-wise and skill-wise, the way that he fights. You may not like him personally, which I really don’t, but as far as skill-wise, he’s a good fighter. A very, very good fighter,” Usman said (via MMAFighting.com).
As both Covington and Usman are wrestlers by trade, their grappling essentially was nullified in the first fight, with the fight mostly taking place in the standup. As far as Usman goes, he believes that the rematch is going to be more of a striking-based fight, too.
“I think we were both content with understanding that was a Mano a Mano, we needed to duke it out, we needed to go back in the day and just throw fisticuffs and see who got the better of the other. I told him, I said I would punish him for four and a half rounds and I would finish him and that’s exactly what I did. I think in this next fight he’s gonna try to be a little more strategic but he’s going to quickly realize that’s not gonna work so you’re just stuck in there getting beat up,” Usman said.
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