The long-awaited welterweight clash is finally happening.
On one side, there is Kamaru Usman. The Nigerian-born wrestling sensation took the UFC by storm, blasting through the competition with a pace and a tenacity of someone who had something to prove – and prove it he did – primarily at the expense of Tyron Woodley when he took the welterweight championship.
On the other side, there is Colby Covington. While his wrestling and cardio-heavy style is like Usman’s, his personality is the polar opposite. Covington is a brash, antagonistic individual who takes pride in getting under his opponents’ skin. He isn’t just a talker – he can back it up, too. He was a former interim champion who claims his title is still the only real one.
The two will finally meet at UFC 244 later this year in New York, where they will finally settle their beef. More importantly, they will finally determine who is the real UFC welterweight champion. Both men have been out longer than they’d like to have been due to injuries.
After Covington returned from a sinus procedure, he dominated former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler over the course of five rounds, setting new records for strikes thrown. Usman went under the knife to deal with a double hernia following his victory over Woodley. Hopefully, both men are fully recovered ready to do battle to determine the true champion.
The fight will be about more than just a championship. The two men have found their personalities to be like oil and water.
Covington’s political beliefs and support of the current US President have drawn the ire of some. Usman has stated as an immigrant, he views himself as somewhat of a representative of those who are simply looking for a place to go to build better lives.
The buildup for this fight has been heated, too. Even after Covington defeated the legendary Lawler, he and his future opponent were beefing during the interview segment. While some may claim their rivalry is a bit manufactured for the sake of promotion, the two have a history of legitimate disdain.
Usman famously confronted Covington at a weigh-in ceremony on a card they were both on, claiming Covington had made comments to him on social media but wouldn’t say the same things to his face. This was a tense situation, and fans can likely expect more of it in the lead-up to their fight.
As for the fight itself, it’s a coin toss. Usman seems to be the physically stronger man, while Covington has an edge in cardio. With their wrestling likely to cancel each other out, it may come down to who has the better striking. Though neither man focuses on their striking, Covington’s pace and output could give him the edge he needs.
The welterweight title picture is finally set to get a little clearer, and it will be a great opportunity for fans to see who is truly the best 170-pound fighter in the world.