Kamaru Usman successfully defended his welterweight title once again with a unanimous-decision win over Colby Covington in their title fight rematch at UFC 268 from Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday.
The fight was once again a back-and-forth affair, but Usman proved to be just one step ahead of the challenge from Covington.
The first round immediately looked different than the first showdown between the two welterweights. No one attempted a takedown in the first fight while both went to their wrestling roots against their opponent with Usman getting the better of the exchanges.
The champion dialed up the pressure in the second round. The disparity between the two when it comes to striking became even more apparent as the Nigerian Nightmare settled in. He nearly ended the fight with a left hook to close out the second round.
While Usman's punches clearly had an impact on Covington, Chaos was seemingly unable to rock the champion even when he landed cleanly.
He did, however, nearly become the first person to take down Usman in the third round.
He was ultimately unsuccessful but it was a sign of what was to come from the challenger. Despite losing the first two rounds handily he kept coming forward and trying to make it a competitive fight.
The fifth and final round was more of the same as both fighters tried to finish strong with the fight potentially tied at two rounds apiece. Covington landed some early heavy blows but went for a takedown that was immediately stuffed.
Ultimately, the first fight looked a whole lot like the first with the exception of Usman finding a finish in the fifth round. These two were built to challenge each other and they have now put together 10 high-quality rounds.
Usman has been well-established now as the best welterweight on the planet, and this win is just further proof. The first fight between him and Covington was a barnburner, but Usman had the upper hand in that one too, finishing him in the fifth round.
Covington talked and worked his way to a rematch with a fifth-round TKO of his own over Tyron Woodley but still wasn't up to the task of unseating the champion.
Usman's title reign might not have the length of other greats like Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva, but his ability to stay busy and beat the top names in his division has been impressive.
Of course, there are still challenges out there. Khamzat Chimaev continues to climb the ranks in the division. Leon Edwards could be on the horizon if he gets past Jorge Masvidal in December.
But those fighters better make their case soon. The 34-year-old has begun talking like a fighter who is considering retirement in the not-so-distant future.
"As far as me [fighting Chimaev], you know I'm in a point in life to where I understand how much this takes from you," the champion told reporters at media day. "I've been nine weeks now away from my daughter, and FaceTime does help, but it doesn't do it justice, as far as being there each and every day. So obviously I don't know how much longer I'm willing to do this."
Usman's dominance has been fun to watch and an intriguing storyline in the division, but it sounds like fans should be enjoying it as long as it lasts.