Kamaru Usman says he is mentally tougher than Colby Covington and will overcome his arch-nemesis in similarly violent fashion to how he defeated Jorge Masvidal.
Usman (19-1) defended his UFC welterweight title for the fourth time when he floored Masvidal at UFC 261, knocking out the Florida native with a vicious right-hand at 1 minute, 2 seconds of the second round.
While UFC president Dana White has indicated Usman is set to face Covington for a second time and Leon Edwards is scheduled to take on Nate Diaz next, it seems like Usman isn’t quite so convinced.
Speculation is rife a rematch with Covington could be next but Usman wants to see some activity from the self-proclaimed ‘The People’s Champion’ to determine a new No. 1 contender.
“I’m not going to say I don’t want the fight,” Usman said to ESPN. “I want all the smoke, it doesn’t matter who it is, I want all the smoke. At the end of the day, it’s what have you done to earn this?
“Your claim to fame can’t be, ‘oh, I went five rounds, then the guy broke my jaw and finished me’. It can’t be your claim to fame.
“Masvidal went five rounds with me too, Tyron Woodley went five rounds with me, so that can’t be your claim to fame.
“You can’t sit around and fight three fights in three years and expect to get a title shot when I’ve just done three fights in nine months.
“The champion can’t be the most active guy in the division. I’ve been through the whole division and now I’m coming back around so everyone just kind of sitting around and saying, oh, I’m next, I’m next, I’m next’ – I don’t really believe in that.”
“Show me something, show me some activity,” he added. “Leon Edwards – granted, he was kind of stuck in that funky spot where he couldn’t fight for two years that kind of set him back, but I mean, look at the guy.
“Since he fought me, he has put together an impressive resume, you know, putting together an eight-fight win streak or something like that.
“You’ve got Michael Chiesa with a four-fight win streak going, you’ve got Vicente Luque coming back and putting on a four-fight win streak and finishing these guys.
“So, why does he [Covington] deserve this shot? It doesn’t really make sense to me.
“I understand that it’s a fun fight, it’s an incredible fight and it’s a fight that I like because I went to that place. I went to that violent place, and of course, I wouldn’t mind going again there again.
“It just needs to make sense, and when it makes sense, absolutely, we can do it.”
Such was the one-sided nature of the contest against Masvidal, Usman revealed that he is ready to jump straight back in when the right opportunity presents itself.
“I’ve been through so much with my body, certain things that hurt, I’ve had seven surgeries,” he revealed. “And the extended time in between camps, it makes every fight feel like it’s a brand new fight.
“And I don’t like that feeling, because it comes with a lot of anxiety.
“It just becomes so much to bear.
“If I can, why not stay active? As you can tell, I’ve fought three times in the past nine months, whereas certain guys haven’t fought three times in three years.
“I’m just sitting at home bored. Then I’m like, hey Ali [Abdelaziz], who’s available?”