The World knows Kamaru Usman will never be friends with Colby Covington, although, for at least a brief moment after their rematch ended at UFC 268, the rivalry was set aside for a little bit of mutual respect.
Most fans of the sport would agree that it was arguably the most shocking moment all night. The two welterweights came face-to-face in the middle of the octagon just when the horn sounded ending the last and final round, but instead of the security intervening, the fighter were allowed to embrace one another, share a few words and shook hands before the decision was announced.
As expected Covington’s good side lasted a very short time and it didn’t take long for his resentment towards the champ returned after the fight. Usman admits that for all the bad blood between them, he expected to at least share that moment in the cage after a grueling battle between two of the best in the world.
Kamaru Usman reacts to Colby Covington handshake
“I’m not surprised,” Usman said about Covington paying him respect after the fight. “We’ve shared pretty much an hour with each other inside that cage. I don’t care who you are, there’s a mutual respect that just comes alive. It’s the spirit of competition. The spirit of martial arts.
“It’s just two competitors. We went to war. We spent almost an hour together inside that cage. I’ll leave (what was said) between me and him.”
From the eyes of the spectators, the fight looked like ending in the similar fashion as their previous meeting after Usman landed a couple bombs dropping “Chaos” Covington to the canvas in the second round. Despite that early knockdown, Covington not only returned for the third round but he actually mounted a pretty impressive comeback to make a very competitive fight after 25 minutes.
Despite the bitter rivalry these two welterweight greats share, the Champ had this to say :
“It’s very, very hard not to get crazy when you hurt someone like that,” Usman said about his knockdown. “But I know he did his homework. He went to a good team. Those guys at MMA Masters are good coaches and they prepared him well.
He stayed very poised and very controlled. That’s why he didn’t try to get crazy cause I would have found the shot and put him away. Like I said, as a competitor, I respect him. That’s the next best guy in the division.