And who can blame him, really? Usman, 33, has fought all but one of the current top five contenders in the official UFC welterweight rankings, and has dealt with them all pretty convincingly.
'The Nigerian Nightmare' defends his UFC welterweight title against the former interim champion in New York early on Sunday morning and will be looking to make a statement.
But while he was full of praise for Covington, he doesn't expect him to prove to be too much of a challenge.
In the UFC 268 pre-fight press conference, he said: "I wouldn't say he's the most difficult matchup.
"I'd say he's very talented, I've got to give him props, he's very, very talented, he works hard and he comes to fight each and every time.
"But like I've said before in the era that he existed he has to live with the fact that there was somebody who was there who was better."
Usman has established himself as one of the best MMA fighters in the world but he also recently teased that retirement may not be too far away.
Asked if he is seriously considering retiring, he replied: "No, it's not necessarily that I don't have a lot of time left."
Before adding: "I'm saying I'm smart enough to know when to go out."
Covington brings a grudge against his fellow American into the fight which may define the rest of his career.
He is certainly championship material, but must answer questions about whether there are any lingering after-effects from his devastating knockout loss to Usman in December 2019.
Usman, on the other hand, finds himself in yet another rematch - the second of his career - for the coveted gold-plated strap.
Usman is a -400 favourite in his second fight of this year and his first since he beat Jorge Masvidal again seven months ago to defend the belt, hence his reported interest in a crossover bout with Canelo Alvarez.
"Before you answer Dana, this is what intrigues me," he interjected.
"I'm getting bored of running through these loudmouths up here, I'm getting bored.
"So you know what, I said pound-for-pound in both sports promoted by the pound for pound promoter in the world Dana White, why not?"News Now - Sport News