If Colby Covington can’t get a third crack at welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, then he’s willing to move up a weight class.
Covington (16-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) will look to regain No. 1 contender status when he faces former teammate Jorge Masvidal (35-15 MMA, 12-8 UFC) in the main event of UFC 272 next week.
Being down 0-2 to the champion often makes it hard to get a third shot at the title. So if a win over Masvidal doesn’t result in another opportunity, Covington likes his chances against UFC middleweight champ Israel Adesanya (22-1 MMA, 11-1 UFC).
“I’m not opposed to going up to 185 pounds and beating up ‘Stylebender,’” Covington told Yahoo Sports. “That guy, he’s not a well-rounded fighter. He can’t keep up with my pace. I know I can take him down and drown him. So there’s a lot of options out there for me. If I don’t get a chance to do my third fight with Usman, then it’s OK.”
Covington gave Usman arguably the toughest fights of his UFC career. In their first outing at UFC 245, one judge had Covington up three rounds to one heading into Round 5 before Usman scored a TKO victory. Although Usman also won the rematch at UFC 268, Covington was able to weather an early storm and turn the tide to win some rounds from the champion.
So if a third fight never materializes, Covington is happy to move on.
“Deep down inside, I truly know who’s the better fighter, and I can go away with my career knowing that he wasn’t a better fighter and he didn’t didn’t prove that to me,” Covington said. “There’s still unfinished business, but if he wants to walk away from the sport, then that’s his decision. I’m not going anywhere. I’m just getting started. The best is yet to come, so you might be seeing Usman retire the next year and Colby will be the undisputed champ.”
Photos: Colby Covington through the years
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Photos: Israel Adesanya through the years
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Twitter reacts to Israel Adesanya’s title defense over Robert Whittaker in UFC 271 rematch