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

COLBY COVINGTON has claimed that Kamaru Usman only accepted a rematch because the UFC threatened to “strip” him of the welterweight title.

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

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

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Usman vs Covington II headlines Madison Square Garden stacked cardCredit: UFC
But Covington claims Usman only agreed to rematch to avoid being stripped of the 170-pound title

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

Covington aggressively pursued a rematch with the first African UFC champion after their war of ages in December 2019, but to no avail.

And Chaos claims the Nigerian Nightmare only agreed to give him a chance to redeem himself for fear of being stripped of the belt.

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

“They didn’t want that to happen. His manager, they refused.

“They were trying to find every way in the book to fight this rematch.

“They didn’t want this fight and the only reason they have to take it is because the UFC didn’t give them a choice.

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“They said, ‘Hey, you fight this fight or we take your clothes off. It’s one or the other.’

“‘You have to go out and prove that you are the best in the world. There must be no controversy around this fight.’ So it was tough. ”

Covington and Usman, 33 and 34 respectively, faced off in the main event of UFC 245 in December 2019.

After a back-and-forth affair, Usman retained the 170-pound strap with a TKO victory in the fifth round.

Covington has only fought once since that fateful night in Las Vegas, registering a fifth round TKO victory over former teammate and former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.

And the former acting 170-pound defending champion blamed his inactivity on the division’s top contenders 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 vowed revenge for the Nigerian nightmare

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And Chaos vowed revenge for the Nigerian nightmareCredit: GETTY

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

“Rue de Judas” [Jorge] Masvidal, they wanted to do this big hype fight, best friends became rivals who now hate each other.

“He was running his mouth through the media saying all this and that, ‘I’m going to drop Colby on sight, this guy is fragile, blah blah blah.’

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

“Nobody wanted to bite the hook so now we’re here and we’re getting the best fight in the welterweight division and it will be a real treat for the fans.”

Covington will happily embark on a trilogy fight with Usman if he equalizes their streak this weekend.

But he doesn’t expect Usman to follow suit.

SunSport's latest pound-for-pound UFC rankings

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SunSport’s latest pound-for-pound UFC rankings

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

“If they want this trilogy, I’ll do it right away. The thing is, after he finishes it next weekend, he won’t want to come back. It will 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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