Kamaru Usman has spoken about the holes he is starting to see in the public persona embodied by his UFC 245 opponent Colby Covington.
Despite turning in a tremendously effective performance against one of the sport’s pound-for-pound best in Tyron Woodley at UFC 235, it’s still pretty fair to say that the sitting welterweight champion remains amongst the most underrated fighters in the sport.
Capable of applying a pace and pressure like few others, Usman, though often criticised for his lack of finishes, has carved out a reputation for himself as one of the most dangerous matchups on the UFC roster.
With a UFC welterweight title contest against the divisive figure that is Colby Covington now set for this weekend’s UFC 245, in the eyes of a lot of people, the champ has become a focus of support for those who are looking to see the extremely vocal challenger’s title-aspirations fizzle out.
Speaking to the media during the ongoing UFC 245 fight-week, Usman explained how he is feeling the love from those fans who would enjoy nothing more than seeing Colby lose out in brutal fashion.
“There’s been some pretty graphic descriptions of how [the fans] want me to end this guy.
“Let’s just say one ends with him trying to open his eyes but can’t because the blood is going into his eyes, so there’s a few descriptive ones. But it is what it is.” (via RTSport)
Love him or hate him, we’re certainly seeing an added layer to Covington’s persona under the bright lights that have led to this marquee matchup.
Though usually watertight in his delivery, the promotional heel has in some ways allowed his guard down to a certain extent in recent times – speaking candidly about the conscious decision he made to become a more vocal version of himself.
Citing an uncertain future within the UFC as something that kick-started his drive to be more expressive, Colby seems to acknowledge that he is playing a game in order to further his career.
Usman, who has always been among his rival’s biggest critics, continued to speak about Covington’s personality and how it will matter little once the octagon doors close.
“This is fake. It’s not really him. But when you step inside that Octagon and have to cut through him, his true self has to come out.
“He’s already coming out and saying, ‘Hey, this was a gimmick. They were gonna cut me.’ Come on, man!
“If you’re this character, be that guy. Stay with that guy. Take it with you until you retire and you’re done with the sport and let the people know who you are. Keep that same energy.
“He’s not doin’ that. He’s already finding a way out. He’s already showing weakness.”
The oddsmakers seem to have this matchup as a pretty tight affair, with the champ being pegged as the slight favourite.
Either way, with the likes of Jorge Masvidal, Santiago Ponzinibbio, and Leon Edwards laying in wait – as well as the potential injection of the Diaz brothers and Conor McGregor – 170lbs does seem like the place to be as far as the big fights are concerned as we move into the year 2020.