Colby Covington Says Kamaru Usman Rematch a Priority over Tyron Woodley Fight

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMarch 17, 2020

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 14:  Colby Covington (L) takes a punch from UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in their welterweight title fight during UFC 245 at T-Mobile Arena on December 14, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Usman retained his title with a fifth-round TKO.  (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)
Steve Marcus/Getty Images

Colby Covington has said a rematch opposite UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is his priority ahead of a fight against former titleholder Tyron Woodley.

The UFC confirmed Monday its next three events would be postponed in a response to the coronavirus pandemic, per ESPN's Brett Okamoto:

Covington (15-2) lost to Usman via fifth-round TKO at UFC 245 in December, but there were rumours of a comeback against Woodley on Saturday after his bout with Leon Edwards fell apart.

The 32-year-old was asked if he'd prefer to fight Usman again rather than Woodley, and he told ESPN (h/t Steven Marrocco of MMAFighting.com): "That definitely takes priority over Woodley."

The Nigerian Nightmare (16-1) deservedly handed Covington his first defeat in four years, with the referee having to step in during the final round, via BT Sport (U.S. and UK viewers only):

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Edwards didn't make it to the United States before the recent travel ban came into effect, ending his chances of fighting Woodley on Saturday after the event—originally set to take place in London—was moved.

Covington added: "I was excited to shock the world. I’ve been keeping my business on the low, but I was ready to pounce. It sucks that that opportunity is getting taken away from me. I’m heartbroken."

Chaos continued his pledge to be added to the UFC Fight Night 171 card in an interview with ESPN (contains language NSFW):

Former champion Woodley, 37, is still ranked No. 1 in the welterweight division despite having not fought since he suffered a one-sided unanimous-decision defeat to Usman at UFC 235 in March last year.

Covington is ranked second ahead of Jorge Masvidal (third) and Edwards (fourth), though the former NCAA Division I wrestler has made no secret of his intent to keep climbing (contains language NSFW):

Many would likely question why Usman would be inclined to fight Covington straightaway having convincingly defeated him only several months ago.

A bout opposite former titleholder Woodley makes more sense as an eliminator for both fighters, though there are several emerging in the welterweight division with claims on the title.