Colby Covington Reportedly to Receive 1st Shot at Kamaru Usman's UFC Title

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2019

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 02:  UFC welterweight Colby Covington is seen during the UFC 235 event at T-Mobile Arena on March 2, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Kamaru Usman's first challenger for his newly won UFC welterweight title will reportedly be Colby Covington.

ESPN's Brett Okamoto relayed the news:

Brett Okamoto @bokamotoESPN

BREAKING: I'm told UFC has already informed Colby Covington he will receive the first shot against newly crowned champion Kamaru Usman. No date or venue for you yet, but Covington will get the shot.

Usman won the title at UFC 235 on Saturday via a unanimous-decision victory over Tyron Woodley.

UFC President Dana White was seen speaking to Covington, who was in the Las Vegas crowd, during Usman's win.

Per MMA Fighting's Shaun Al-Shatti, White said in his post-fight press conference:

"There was a lot of ruckus going on over there in his area. He almost got into it with mama Woodley at one point and everything else. That was like the third time I'd gone over to him that night.

"So I just told him, 'Listen, you're going to get this title shot. Don't f--k this up. Just relax. You and all your guys relax. If anything goes down, let our people handle it, and we’re going to take you in the back in a little while here and do some interviews.' That's all I said to him."

White further clarified that Covington will be Usman's first official challenger, replying "yeah," when asked as much.

Covington said he wasn't certain he will have first crack at Usman's title while speaking to Okamoto, however:

"Nah, I wasn't aware of that," Covington said (h/t Forbes' Trent Reinsmith). "But I've been told that before, so I'm not going to believe anything until I'm locked in that cage. Obviously there was promises made before and it wasn't promises kept. I'm a man of my word, so I hope they're a man of their word and keep their word this time."

He echoed similar thoughts to Okamoto's ESPN colleague Ariel Helwani:

Ariel Helwani @arielhelwani

Asked Colby Covington if he was told tonight that he is 100% getting the next welterweight title shot. He said, “Kind of. I’m not convinced until we’re locked in the cage.”

Usman evidently expects to meet him in the Octagon, though, and he's relishing the prospect of doing so (warning: contains profanity):

MMAFighting.com @MMAFighting

Fresh off his win at #UFC235, @USMAN84kg says can't wait to "brutalize" Colby Covington: "I want to f*ck that guy up so bad." Watch full video: https://t.co/N5Pb99yZ3u https://t.co/IAkfqVZnZl

Covington won the interim welterweight title in June, when he beat Rafael dos Anjos, but he was stripped of the title because he was unable to fight Woodley in September following nasal surgery.

His win over Dos Anjos extended his record to 14-1 in MMA, while Usman's victory against Woodley puts his at 15-1.

Both fighters are accustomed to going the distance. Eight of Usman's past nine matches were won by unanimous decision, while Covington's past four fights have had the same result in his favour.

The pair could prove evenly matched, and it's clear there's no love lost between them—it could make for an eye-catching contest.