Kamaru Usman is coming off a shocking last-minute knockout loss in his last title defense against Leon Edwards at UFC 278 last month (watch highlights), a defeat that has shaken up the entire UFC Welterweight division. Fighters like Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal — who have already lost to Usman twice — are now hoping “The Nigerian Nightmare” loses to Edwards again in the rubber match so they can get back in the title picture.
None of that seems to bother Usman much. Even losing the title hasn’t rattled the former champion too much. Rather than hide away following the defeat, Kamaru stopped in to the Joe Rogan Experience to have a three-hour chat.
One of the most shocking revelations: that he’s a fan of his two biggest rivals.
“I actually like both guys,” Usman said. “I like Covington and I like Masvidal. As a person, I’ve never hung out with [Covington] as a person so I wouldn’t know how he is as a person. I’ve heard rumors, because how his energy is with other people might not be how his energy is with my energy. So until I experience that it’s hard for me to speak on it.”
“But, as an athlete, as a competitor and what he brings to the table, I’m almost kinda low-key a fan. I admire what he’s able to do. To talk that much s—t and get your face broken too and still talk more s—t after? That takes a different person.”
Rogan went on to repeat the Covington origin story — that UFC was going to cut him and he cooked up his “Chaos” persona as a response — and Usman praised the “shtick.”
“Nothing has changed in his fighting style, he’s always been doing that to guys. Now, he’s got that shtick behind him, and it works, so more power to him. I hear he’s a super nice guy!”
I was able to snag a photo of @wugwugwugwug with @ColbyCovMMA this evening as well!— ✨ WeePro ✨ (@WeePro83) August 29, 2022
I think Ruben will agree with me - it was a rewarding experience to have sat and played with him.
Probably one of the most genuinely nicest people we have encountered in the games so far. pic.twitter.com/FekdDkwW9U
But, would a real Covington fan want Colby to fight Khamzat Chimaev? Because later in his Joe Rogan Experience podcast appearance, Usman suggested that’s the fight he wants for his de facto gatekeeper.
“I think what’s more interesting is [Chimaev] versus Covington,” he said. “Think how that’s the ultimate test because Covington does everything. He, for lack of a better word, and by no disrespect, with all due respect I mean no disrespect, it’s Covington, you gotta get past Covington.”