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Covington: I didn’t wrestle with Usman at UFC 245 since ‘I was beating him up so easily standing’

Colby Covington talks about his strategy against Kamaru Usman at UFC 245.

Last week, Colby Covington went on record to say he had food poisoning ahead of of his UFC 245 title fight against Kamaru Usman in December. His weakened state at the time, he says, prevented him from wrestling, his best known weapon in a fight.

But in a recent interview with MMA Junkie, “Chaos” gave a different reason why he chose to keep the fight standing.

“No, I was not surprised one bit that he didn’t want to wrestle because he knows that if he wrestles a D1 all-star like me, he’s going to get exposed and he’s going to get tired, and he’s going to gas,” Covington said. “The reason I didn’t implement any wrestling is I was beating him up so easily standing.

“I wobbled him in the first, the second, and the fourth. I hurt him with the head kick, got a nasty body kick on him where he was about to quit. I caught him with some good straight lefts, good hooks, good uppercuts, and had him on wobbly legs multiple times, so I was having so much success striking that I didn’t need to wrestle.

“I was winning the whole entire fight, so I didn’t feel like I had to switch to the wrestling.”

The action was interrupted a couple of times due to a groin kick and eye poke. Covington says he already felt in control only for his momentum to be interrupted by those breaks mid-fight.

“I noticed that when I kicked him in the liver and I was starting to put the pressure on in the second round, he didn’t like that,” he said. “He was ready to fold up, you could see it in his eyes. If you go freeze frame to when I kicked him in the liver and he turned around, you could see it in his eyes.

“He was ready to break and he was ready to quit, but when you get five minutes to recover in a fight and you get that two separate times, that’s 10 minutes of resting in a title fight. There’s no way for me to build momentum or build pressure on because he just takes breaks, and that’s cheating.

“The rematch, there’s going to be a different game plan, a different strategy and I’m 110 percent confident that he won’t be able to stand with me,” Covington added.

Usman says he is also hoping to run it back with Covington, wanting to score a better highlight-reel knockout this time around.