Kamaru Usman thinks Colby Covington is trying to soften what he predicts will be a hard fall after UFC 245.
Covington (15-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) has portrayed an outlandish personality in recent years, creating countless enemies in and out of the sport. It’s gotten him plenty of attention as he’s fought his way up to a welterweight title fight with Usman (15-1 MMA, 10-0 UFC), but just days prior to the event, the challenger made an interesting revelation.
“Chaos” admitted in a recent interview that he decided to alter his persona – and become what’s best described as a Donald Trump-inspired heel – because he was in danger of being cut from the UFC. Usman found the timing of those comments to be nothing short of predominant.
“This is him trying to make excuses why he’s going to get his ass kicked on Saturday night,” Usman said during Wednesday’s UFC 245 athlete panel at MGM Grand Resort & Casino. “He’s already come out and said, ‘Oh, this is just an act.’ I don’t give a (expletive). He came out and said, ‘They were going to cut me, so it’s just an act.’ You (expletive) nerd. It doesn’t matter. After you get your ass kicked you can do whatever you want to do. I don’t care.”
During the pre-fight athlete panel, Usman was joined by fellow UFC champs Max Holloway and Amanda Nunes, who also will defend their titles at UFC 245, which takes place at T-Mobile Arena and airs on pay-per-view.
Holloway was caught off guard when he learned of Covington’s admission and weighed in on how that changes his perception of the challenger.
“That’s heavy, because if you’re going to put on an act, you’ve got to stay with the act,” Holloway said. “When you retire, like WWE guys, they come out, and they do their stuff, and they keep their act no matter where they’re at. Then they retire and go, ‘It was an act.’ So I’m kind of surprised he just kind of came out nowhere and said that. It got me shook.”
Usman elaborated on Holloway’s statement, and said it only strengthens his mental advantage over Covington going into fight night.
“That’s kind of how I feel,” Usman said. “If you’re putting on an act, you’ve got to sell that. That’s your (expletive). You’ve got to sell that. That’s weakness already. He’s already finding – let’s dissect this thing. You’re already finding a way out: ‘Once I get beat up on Saturday don’t hate me, because I was just putting on an act because they were going to cut me.’ He’s doing that.”
Regardless of whether Covington decides to stand behind or back down from everything he’s done to get himself into position to fight Usman, the champion said it doesn’t matter. He’s not letting any of it go, and he intends to punish Covington on behalf of the entire sport this weekend.
“He’s worried about me. I’m not worried about him,” Usman said. “He’s the one who has talked all the (expletive) in the world, so now he has to go prove that. The pressure’s on him. I’m champ, not him. He has to come out there and prove it. I’m relaxed. This is the fifth time this fight’s been offered to him. I’ve accepted every single one. He hasn’t.
“There’s no other person for him to fight but me, so that’s why he’s pretending to you guys like he wanted this fight, because there’s nobody else. You want to be champ? You’ve got to beat the champ.”