Colby Covington guarantees he is fighting for the UFC welterweight title at the November show at Madison Square Garden in New York — but it might not be against current champ Kamaru Usman.
Covington, a former interim welterweight titleholder, said there is “absolutely” a chance Usman gets stripped of the belt before he agrees to the fight against Covington.
“I can’t say that the fans will be hopeful that they will see me against [Usman], but I can say that the fans will be hopeful I will be fighting for the world championship in the Garden,” Covington told Eyes On The Game. ... “I don’t know if it will be against him. He might not sign the contract; he might not show up.”
Covington named his American Top Team teammate Jorge Masvidal and Ben Askren — who fight each other in July at UFC 239 — as two potential opponents for the title if not Usman.
“Chaos” said Usman is trying to avoid a fight against him as much as he can, but is also looking for a better contract before signing on to fight Covington — a contract he won’t get, Covington said, because “no one cares about him.”
“November will be eight or nine months since he’s fought. How much more time does he need?” Covington asked. “He’s just pushing it back, pushing it back, trying to negotiate and not fight.”
Covington speculated that Usman is trying to use his time as UFC welterweight champion as an opportunity to negotiate a better deal, because “The Nigerian Nightmare” knows when he steps into the cage against Covington, it will be an “automatic L.”
“He’s just trying to use [his title] as leverage, as bargaining power — maybe get some sponsorships — because as soon as he fights me, he’s getting exposed in front of the world,” Covington said.
Covington said he has been offered to fight Usman as early as UFC 238 in Chicago — which took place last weekend. He has also been offered the fight at UFC 239 in July, as well as the upcoming shows in Abu Dhabi and potentially Australia.
“They’ve talked about everywhere,” Covington said. “It’s all on his side. He just keeps delaying — ‘Oh, I need more time.’”
Usman attributed his recovery from injuries as the reason why the Covington fight has yet to be booked. Usman underwent knee surgery after he won the 170-pound title against Tyron Woodley in March. He also said after that win that he had suffered a fractured foot ahead of the contest.
Covington, though, doesn’t believe Usman for a second.
“Of course not,” Covington said when asked if he believes Usman is injured. “He was never injured in the first place. He’s using Woodley tactics. He’s Woodley 2.0.”