After months of trash talking and bad blood, Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington finally got back into the octagon Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
And Usman came out on top. Again.
Usman — the welterweight champion — defended his belt, winning via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46) at UFC 268.
It’s been nearly two years since the two fighters fought in an epic match at UFC 245, where Usman won via a fifth round TKO. The much-hyped rematch did not disappoint.
Usman nearly ended the night in the second round, knocking Covington down twice with two left hands, but Covington was able to get through it.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) November 7, 2021
“He’s tough. He’s super tough,” Usman said. “I wanted to get crazy and get him out of there. But that’s not what the best do.”
Covington was able to bounce back in the third round, forcing the fight to go the distance.
After the fight, the two fighters shook hands and embraced, appearing to bury the hatchet.
“I just gotta give it up,” Usman said after the fight. “I know there was a lot of trash talk and bad blood and there’s still going to be some after tonight. But he’s a tough son of a b—. … I mean, when you share an octagon with someone this tough, you can’t help it. That respect is going to come. He hit me with some shots and I could tell they’ve been working on it. The power came up a little bit and I could tell they had been working on it. I had to give him that respect.”
With the victory, Usman is now 20-1 and has won 15 straight fights in the UFC.
“Usman is just the best ever. He’s the best welterweight of all time,” UFC president Dana White said at the post-fight news conference. “He’s on his way to possible [greatest of all time] status.”
Covington initially was gracious in defeat, saying that Usman “had the better night” in his interview in the octagon with Joe Rogan. He quickly changed his tune.
In his post-fight press conference, Covington said that he believes he broke his foot early in the fight on a calf kick that landed on Usman’s knee. He also questioned the judges’ decision.
“I’m definitely not proud of my performance,” Covington said when addressing the media. “I should have won that. It was laser thin again. I honestly thought I had it 3-2. It was very close. He clipped me, I clipped him a couple times. Whatever media reporter in here said I went for 11 takedowns and had unsuccessful attempts, fake news. Do real journalism. That’s why you guys aren’t journalists. You don’t have journalism degrees cause you put this fake news out. I obviously took him down so I broke that stat so you can’t hype him up anymore and say he’s never been taken down cause I took him down.”
“I think we have unfinished business. I’ll give five more rounds out in the parking lot right now. I’m serious about that. I will see him again. I’m not done with him.”
Any thought that Covington had gained respect for Usman after their second fight quickly went out the window.
“I can’t respect a guy like that,” Covington said. “Go look on YouTube. The guy dissected everything he cheats on and you see those injection marks all over his stomach, the guy’s not a clean fighter. I’m a clean fighter. I’m raw American steel and twisted sex appeal. I did this the hard way.”
“I’m a kid from Springfield-Thurston, Oregon, and look at me. I just sold out Madison Square Garden, fourth-highest gate in the company’s history, the pay-per-view numbers are astronomical. Take one guess who did all that? That’s me. I’m the one that sold this event. I’m the one that put all these a**** in the seats. Whether you love me or hate me, you came to watch me tonight and that’s not debatable.”
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.