Colby Covington claims UFC threatened to ‘strip’ bitter rival Kamaru Usman if he didn’t accept UFC 267 grudge match

COLBY COVINGTON has claimed Kamaru Usman only agreed to a rematch because the UFC threatened to ‘strip’ him of the welterweight title.

The bitter rivals will renew their feud early on Sunday morning in the main event of UFC 268 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington will renew their rivalry at UFC 268

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Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington will renew their rivalry at UFC 268Credit: GETTY
Usman vs Covington II headlines a stacked card at Madison Square Garden

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Usman vs Covington II headlines a stacked card at Madison Square GardenCredit: UFC
But Covington claims Usman only agreed to the rematch to avoid being stripped of the 170lb title

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But Covington claims Usman only agreed to the rematch to avoid being stripped of the 170lb titleCredit: GETTY

Covington aggressively pursued a rematch with Africa’s first UFC champion after their war for the ages in December 2019 but was unsuccessful.

And Chaos claims the Nigerian Nightmare has only agreed to give him a shot at redemption for fear of being stripped of the belt.

He told ESPN: “It’s been such a journey. “It’s been tough. It wasn’t supposed to happen.

“They did not want it to happen. His manager, they were refusing.

“They were trying to find every way in the book out of fighting this rematch.

“They didn’t want this fight and the only reason they have to take it is the UFC gave them no choice.

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“They said, ‘Hey, you fight this fight or we strip you. It’s one or the other.

“You’ve got to come out and prove you’re the best in the world. There needs to be no controversy surrounding this fight.’ So it’s been tough.”

Covington and Usman, 33 and 34 respectively, locked horns with one another in the main event of UFC 245 in December 2019.

Following a back-and-forth affair, Usman retained the 170lb strap with a fifth-round TKO victory.

Covington has only fought once since that fateful night in Las Vegas, registering a fifth-round TKO victory over his old team-mate and former welterweight champ Tyron Woodley.

And the former interim 170lb titleholder has attributed his inactivity to the top contenders in the division refusing to face him.

Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington first fought at UFC 245 in December 2019

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Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington first fought at UFC 245 in December 2019Credit: GETTY
And Chaos has vowed to exact his revenge on The Nigerian Nightmare

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And Chaos has vowed to exact his revenge on The Nigerian NightmareCredit: GETTY

He said: “The fact is no one wanted to fight me. Go to Hunter Campbell, go to Dana White, ask them the truth. No one would fight me.

‘Street Judas’ [Jorge] Masvidal, they wanted to make this big hype fight, best friends turned rivals who hate each other’s guts now.

“He was running his mouth in the media saying all this and that, ‘I’ll drop Colby on sight, that guy’s fragile, blah blah blah.’

“I was trying to put on the biggest and best fights for the UFC.

“No one wanted to take the bait so now we are here and we get the best fight in the welterweight division and it’s gonna be a real treat for the fans.”

Covington will happily jump right into a trilogy fight with Usman should he level their series this weekend.

But he doesn’t foresee Usman following suit.

SunSport's latest pound-for-pound UFC rankings
SunSport’s latest pound-for-pound UFC rankings

He told Yahoo Sports: “I’m not going to be a coward. I’m going to give the people what they want.

“If they want this trilogy, I’ll do it right away. The thing is, after I finish him next weekend, he’s not going to want to come back. It’s going to be a life-changing defeat.

“He’s not going to want to come back for the trilogy, he’s probably going to retire.”

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Colby Covington vows to ‘finish’ Kamara Usman at UFC 268

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