Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington was as gritty as gritty could be, and the reigning UFC welterweight champion will be the first to admit it.
Very rarely does a grudge match play out as well as Usman vs. Covington did at UFC 245. There was blood-boiling tension, boasting, bloodying, bludgeoning and battering from pillar to post. Usman and Covington fought for four hard rounds before Usman finally got the finish in the fifth.
“I knew it was close because for the first-time ever I asked my coaches, ‘did I win that round?’ I’ve never in my career done that,” Usman told Joe Rogan on the Joe Rogan Experience. “I’m the type of guy, even when I was wrestling, I’m the type of wrestler that likes 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 [to my corner] and asked, ‘did I win that round? Did I win that round?’... I always knew I was going to finish that fight.”
“He really showed how good he is. I give respect where respect is due. I’m no hater. I know this kid can fight. I know he is good. I know he is tough. And I know he is a competitor,” he continued. “I’ve always known that he was a competitor. He was going to come out and try to compete. Mentally, I think I’m just on a different level than these guys. Just because everything that I’ve been through, that I’ve done in my life has shaped me into the man that I am.”
There may be no love lost between Usman and Covington, but the former is willing to admit the latter is an important part of his past and future.
“At the end of the day, to make fantastic fights you have to have the right dance partner. He was the right dance partner,” Usman asserted. “To be honest with you, if I didn’t take too much out of him — because each fight takes something out of you internally — if I didn’t take too much from him, I think I might see him again, to be honest. It’s clear that we are the two best guys in the division. I look forward to seeing him again.”