The UFC’s welterweight division is stacked with killers. Any of the ranked fighters could win on any given night against anyone in the weight class. Managers have to navigate through what match-ups favor their clients and what match-ups will advance their clients’ careers.
Sometimes, the top fighters in the world turn down fights. According to No. 11 ranked welterweight Kamaru Usman, third-ranked Colby Covington has passed on fighting him three different times.
Usman was scheduled to face Emil Weber Meek at UFC 219 on Dec. 30, but visa issues prevented Meek from competing on that date. When Meek was forced to withdraw, the fight promotion tried to put together a bout between Covington and Usman. Covington allegedly declined.
“My fight (against Emil Weber Meek) was originally Dec. 30. Due to his visa issues, they scrapped the fight,” explained Usman while appearing on The MMA Hour.
“Once the fight was scrapped, basically, we were offered Colby Covington. We were offered Covington and he said no. Right away, he said no. I don’t want anything to do with that guy. No.”
The 29-year-old Nigerian revealed that a fight against Covington was proposed to take place at UFC Fight Night 124 in St. Louis, but Covington turned the fight down. It would have been the fight card’s main event. The match-up was also discussed to take place at UFC 220 in Boston on Jan. 20, but Usman says Covington again rejected the offer.
“They tried to make the fight again two weeks later. I think something transpired. I don’t know what it was, but they tried to make the fight again. And Colby said no, absolutely not. Then, for the third time… This was supposed to be my main event on Jan. 14. It was supposed to be my main event. Obviously, you see why it took so long to get a headliner for that card. It was supposed to be me and Colby Covington to headline the card, but he turned it down,” he said.
Usman accuses Covington of hand-picking opponents and only wanting to make a name for himself by taking on fighters past their prime. Covington’s last two opponents have been in their late 30’s.
“He only wants to go after the guys that he feels are old and he can have an athletic advantage, maybe a cardio advantage, or maybe try to push-pull them into deep waters. He knows that pace don’t work with me,” said Usman.
“You can’t out-wrestle me. You can’t out-strike me. You don’t have more power than me,” said Usman, addressing Covington directly. “He’s so afraid that he was running to nobody but all the older guys that were on their way down. That’s the only guys he wants.
“Colby Covington was offered me on three different occasions, and he said no.”