Kamaru Usman knows Colby Covington respects him despite what he says, as the champ says there is mutual respect between them.
In the lead-up to Usman-Covington at UFC 245, the two did not like one another as they trash-talked one another. They ended up going toe-to-toe and it was a phenomenal fight with Usman winning by fifth-round TKO.
Now, ahead of their rematch at UFC 268 in Madison Square Garden on Saturday, Usman believes there is mutual respect between him and Covington.
“We’re going into the second fight with Colby now and I’m expecting the toughest Colby there’s been,” Usman said on the first UFC 268 embedded episode. “Fighting a guy like Colby, you’d expect a lot of mutual respect because we’ve actually shared that Octagon for almost 25 minutes. He gets kind of a rep for the way that he behaves outside of the cage. I know he respects me, I know he does. He might not wanna show but I know he does. And I’ve a lot of respect for him as well. I think he’s a great competitor, I think he’s very, very tough, but the wisdom that I’ve acquired in this last year alone kind of trumps everything he has done. No pun intended.”
Kamaru Usman is coming off a KO win over Jorge Masvidal back at UFC 261 in April. Prior to that, he TKO’d Gilbert Burns in February after beating Masvidal by decision at UFC 251, which was his first fight since the win over Covington.
Covington, meanwhile, has only fought once since he lost to Usman at UFC 245, which was a fifth-round TKO injury over Tyron Woodley. He is the former interim welterweight champion but does play a shtick so whether or not he actually does respect Usman is uncertain. However, it is hard to ever know as even if he does, Covington won’t ever admit it due to his personality.