Former UFC interim welterweight champion Colby Covington has been named the No. 1 UFC welterweight title challenger by the promotion. But he claims champ Kamaru Usman is ducking him yet again.
It’s a deal Covington negotiated directly with UFC President Dana White and Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell, he said, because he doesn’t want to give a percentage to “sleazeball, slimeball managers that just take a percentage and don’t do anything for you.”
Colby Covington said the promotion hopes to book the title rematch in August or September. He hopes to take the belt not only to avenge a previous loss to Usman he said was the product of bad refereeing, but also so he can share in the pay-per-view profits of a champ.
The problem right now, according to the CEO of Colby Covington Incorporated, is that Usman is not cooperating.
“They’re just waiting on Marty,” Covington said on What the Heck. “Ever since he beat that fragile dude, ‘Street Judas’ [Jorge] Masvidal, he’s been running. But he just found out there’s nowhere left to hide. He’s going to have to face being inside that octagon sooner than later.
“So as soon as his balls stop shrinking and he comes back to earth, he can fight me again. But the thing is, he’s off the grid. He’s probably got his phone on airplane mode, he’s denying all the UFC’s calls. He doesn’t want to sign the contract. He’s just hoping some alien invasion happens where he can pick some other lightweight washout to fight.”
After UFC 263, UFC President Dana White said Covington remains the No. 1 contender despite a 10th straight win for the top-ranked Leon Edwards in a bout against Nate Diaz.
Kamaru Usman, who defended his title in April with an emphatic knockout of Masvidal in a rematch, apparently soured on Edwards and other options, telling ESPN.com after the pay-per-view event “that don’t help you. I guess no one deserves it.”
But Covington dismissed the British welterweight as any threat to his position, and said the only holdup is the champ.
“That fight was definitely not of importance to the division,” he said. “You’ve got a lightweight, Stockton soy boy Nate Diaz. I don’t know if he’s ever won at fight at welterweight, and if he has, he’s definitely got a losing record. I don’t know the last time he won a fight in general. Five years ago? So it’s on course for the fight that [Leon Edwards] gets.”
“There was people fighting during the whole pandemic during COVID, and he didn’t want to fight,” he said later of Edwards. “He was turning down every single fight that got offered to him. Meanwhile, everybody in Europe is flying and fighting during COVID, and he’s just sitting on the sidelines, trying to wait and pick and choose his fights. He did it to himself. The UFC knows that he turned down a lot of fights and wasn’t ready to fight. I stayed ready.”
The only question Covington has now is how long he’ll have to wait. He would like to see the fight put on at the 20,000-seat BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. But he claims Usman is on the outs with his longtime manager Ali Abdelaziz and took a trip to Africa to avoid signing a contract to fight him.
“Stop hiding in your ‘so-called home country’ of Africa,” Covington said to Usman. “We know you only went back there because it’s the first time you’ve ever been back to Africa, because we all know Marty that you were born in Dallas and you went to college in Nebraska. So stop hiding in Africa from me, get back to America, and let’s get this deal done.”
Covington has repeatedly fought with the UFC over the trajectory of his career, on several occasions putting the promotion on blast for negotiating tactics. Several times, he’s lost fight opportunities – including at least one against Kamaru Usman – over disputes behind the scenes. But this time around, he said he’s been the easy one to negotiate with.
“The UFC came at me right, and I’m happy with it,” he said. “But this is the opportunity that compels me to another level within sports and within the MMA world in general, so I’m looking forward to it. This is going to lead to bigger and better fights in the future, and my cut in the pay-per-view, which is what I want more than anything.”
It could take a couple of months or “who knows, maybe a year” to see Usman, but Covington said “it will happen, and the UFC’s reassured me of that.”
The last time Covington and Usman met, Usman earned a fifth-round TKO when he sent his rival to the canvas and followed with a flurry of punches. Covington refused to acknowledge the victory and claimed he was cheated out of a rightful win. Since then, Usman has been a main target in every interview.
“Dana has quadrupled, 10-time downed on it, this is the fight that everybody wants to see,” he said. “‘Edward Scissorhands’ already fought Marty Juiceman and it wasn’t even competitive. He lost every single round. I beat Marty two, three rounds out of that fight, and I was probably going on to beat him if Marc Goddard didn’t save his life.”