UFC 268: Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington 2 Preview
Kamaru “The Nigerian Nightmare” Usman (19-1-0)
From Auchi, Nigeria, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the reigning, defending UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has been striving for greatness from an early age. Martial arts were destined to become a part of Usman’s life, and it all began on the wrestling mats during his sophomore year in high school.
Following a decorated journey in wrestling through high school and college earned him the NCAA Division II National Championship title and NCAA DII All-American bragging rights. A path in professional fighting was a no-brainer for the Nigerian born athlete who owned such a solid martial arts base in his grappling ability.
In 2012, Usman’s path to destruction began, and he amassed a 5-1 record with five knockouts before the UFC quickly obtained his services by inviting him to their Ultimate Fighter reality competition. Usman dominated The Ultimate Fighter Season 21, collected a $500,000 paycheque and a UFC contract. Since his promotional debut, 13-fights down the line, he remains undefeated whilst barely losing a round during his phenomenal run.
The UFC’s welterweight division hasn’t had such a dominant champion since the George Saint Pierre era, and the current champ isn’t far from exceeding the achievements of many UFC pound-for-pound legends of past and present.
Colby “Chaos” Covington (16-2-0)
Despite their hatred for one another, Colby Covington and Kamaru Usman own a similar path towards recognition as martial artists competing in the UFC.
Covington also began his MMA tenure by initially competing as an elite wrestler in high school and college, notably training alongside former undefeated UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Covington’s freshman year presented a 34-0 record on the mats, which eventually led towards NCAA Division I All-American accomplishments and a winning Pac-10 174lb Conference Championship success.
A near unblemished record has a mere two losses since joining the company in 2014, one of which was from his first encounter with Kamaru Usman.
UFC 245: Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington 1
Many critics believed that Covington would present Usman with a challenge and skill set that could dethrone the champion. Although sportsbooks from New York closed with Covington as the +175 underdog, it didn’t prevent a significant number of wagers from coming in on the challenger.
Feuds in combat sports deliver numbers. Aside from a stylistic MMA bout most believed would give Usman a competitive fight, the genuine dislike these two fighters expressed during the build-up created one of the most highly anticipated UFC contests of 2019.
Referee Marc Goddard stood between the two men in what became the #3 ranked best MMA fight of the year, the UFC 245 Fight of the Night, and the 13th greatest welterweight bout of all time.
Usman retained the championship via a fifth-round knockout, having already broken Covington’s jaw earlier in the fight. And despite the vicious finish from Usman, the critics were correct in believing that Covington would be Usman’s toughest fight to date – as the fight was well-matched at times.
UFC 268: Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington 2
Two years and an additional three title defences later, the options for Kamaru Usman have become limited, and the rematch UFC fans want to take place has finally been booked.
It’s been over a year since Covington’s previous fight, where he finished Tyron Woodley in the fifth round. Still, the champion has successfully defeated Jorge Masvidal twice and Gilbert Burns, which ended by knockout.
The lack of octagon activity could certainly go against Covington. Still, it’s an MMA bout that will produce great PPV numbers whilst simultaneously producing an event that New Yorkers won’t be able to forget.
Personally, it’s hard to ignore the dominance of Kamaru Usman and his continued success as the world’s most dominant P4P welterweight; however, If anybody in the 175lb division can deliver a surprise victory, it would be the bad guy of MMA Colby Covington.