The upcoming grudge match between Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal will draw much attention later tonight (Sat., Mar. 5, 2022) at UFC 272 live on ESPN+ PPV from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, including that of current UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
While fight fans are chomping at the bit to see Covington and Masvidal finally settle their rivalry inside of the Octagon Usman has a little more interest than most. That’s because the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world has defeated both “Chaos” and “Gamebred” twice each. In fact, Usman is the only fighter to defeat Covington and Masvidal over the past five years.
Having prepared multiple training camps for each fighter Usman has inside knowledge of what Covington and Masvidal might bring to the table at UFC 272. One of the biggest questions heading into tonight’s main event is if Masvidal has the ability to stop Covington. Usman’s experience inside of the cage with both men leads him to believe “Gamebred” has the chance of stopping Covington and making him quit.
“Absolutely,” said Usman during a Q&A before UFC 272’s ceremonial weigh ins. “If you look back after the third round [in our first fight at UFC 245] when I cracked his jaw, he went back to his corner and told them, ‘My jaw is broken.’ He wanted a way out. Hey, he might have toughed it out and cleaned it up, and he’s no longer that guy, but I think everybody has a price. If Masvidal can do enough damage, I think Colby will make that deal with himself to be able to quit.”
While Usman believes Masvidal can do enough damage to stop this fight early the UFC champion also believes Covington’s cardio can become a big factor down the stretch. “Chaos” is known for his high-pace motor and ability to grind away an opponent for 25-straight minutes so Masvidal needs to stay on his feet and keep his own conditioning in check if he wants to survive some of the later rounds.
“It don’t look good for Masvidal [if this fight gets extended],” Usman said. “I’m just being honest. If it goes to the later rounds, that means Colby has found a way to keep the fight going as long as he can, so I don’t think that favors Masvidal.
“I don’t think he’s gonna be able to hold [Masvidal] down, maybe not until the later rounds, but that works good for Colby because he doesn’t necessarily want to hold guys down. He just wants to be able to drag him down so they have to work to get back up, then drag them back down. What’s really going to make the difference in this fight is Masvidal’s ability to not get tired. But Covington has more ways to win.”
Masvidal may have a chance to pull out a spectacular finish but Covington is coming into this fight a 3-1 favorite. It’s hard to envision a scenario in which Covington isn’t able to pressure “Gamebred” with his wrestling and tire him out down the stretch, but Usman sees a window of opportunity for Masvidal as long as he follows a strict gameplan.
“I think Jorge just got to press him,” Usman explained. “Jorge’s wrestling defense is much better than I thought because he stands straight up in that stance, bounces up and down, and you think it’s easy to take him down but it was tougher than I thought. He’s got to press Covington and you’ve got to make him remember all them times he slept on your couch, eating those $2 McDonald’s burgers, you’ve got to make him remember that.”
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 272 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches at 6 p.m. ET, followed by the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.