The rematch that no fighting fan should miss
In 1980, Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran were considered the best two pound-for-pound boxers in the world. Leonard was an Olympic gold medalist who went undefeated as a professional on the brink of becoming the WBC welterweight champion. Duran was the former lightweight champion, who had recently switched to welterweight, and has won eight consecutive fights since gaining weight. “The Brawl in Montreal,” as it has been dubbed by Don King, lived up to the hype with Duran making a unanimous decision and dethroning the previously undefeated Leonard. However, the rivalry between these two men was only just beginning.
Six months later, the two met in a rematch that would become one of the most infamous moments in boxing history. Having learned from trying to stand up to the brutal Duran in their first fight, Leonard decided to use his superior agility to “stick and move” in the rematch. It was such an effective strategy to frustrate Duran that he turned his back on Leonard in the eighth round, looked at the referee and said “No más. “ The fight was over, Leonard had regained his title, and an unforgettable moment in boxing history had unfolded. Decades later, scores of fans are familiar with the rematch, while some even forget that the first fight took place.
Similar to Leonard and Duran, Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington had an unforgettable fight in December 2019. UFC fans will not soon forget the hotly contested battle that ended in Usman’s KO victory in the fifth and final round. Recently, the pair agreed to face each other once again in the Octagon in a pay-per-view main event scheduled for November 6. If the sequel lives up to the original, the pair will officially be part of one of the biggest rivalries in combat sports. Let’s take a closer look at all of the factors that will play a role in determining a winner between these two warriors the second time around.
It might sound odd, but Usman’s location against Covington II is as critical to the event as any other factor. The event will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York. Many of the most defining moments in sports and entertainment history took place in this arena. Perhaps the most famous fight of the modern era, Ali against Frazier I, took place at this sacred place in 1971. The fact is that every momentous event in history is forever linked to or, not only who Where What. In this case, the or is Madison Square Garden. If Usman or Covington wants to be a legend, November 6 will be as good a time as any; opportunities to perform at sites of historic significance do not arise every day.
In 1985, Magic Johnson helped the Los Angeles Lakers win their third NBA Championship in six years. As each major sports championship is followed by an intense celebration, it looks like the Lakers have added some excitement this time around. Twenty years later, when asked if this was true, Johnson didn’t hold back during his response. “Yes. I had a lot of fun beating them. If there’s something I hate in life, it’s the Boston Celtics. The point is that although Johnson has won two previous titles, avenging the The team’s loss in the NBA Finals in 1984 made this title better than any other, it just goes to show that even for very successful people, revenge is still a motivator.
Colby Covington is certainly a very successful mixed martial artist. He was the interim UFC welterweight champion and has only lost twice in his professional career. However, one of those losses occurred shortly after he turned pro; expectations weren’t so high and the spotlight was not yet on him. However, Covington’s 2019 loss to Usman came at a time when Covington was at the peak of his career. He was now participating in the main event of an à la carte fight card. His fights were the subject of bar debates and barbershop arguments. Losing to a man he had sworn to beat in the lead-up to the fight was bad enough. Losing to him by knockout in the fifth and final round was devastating. Covington has only been seen in the Octagon once since his loss to Usman, a victory over Tyron Woodley. However, make no mistake, his mind has been obsessed with winning over Kamaru Usman since their fight in 2019. On November 6th, he will finally have his chance.
Since joining the UFC in December 2015, Kamaru Usman has won thirteen consecutive fights. His notable opponents include Tyron Woodley, two wins over Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington. These are three of the most popular welterweights in mixed martial arts. Another victory over Covington would do wonders for Usman’s resume. He has successfully defended the welterweight title four times in a row. Anderson Silva previously held the UFC middleweight title for more than six years, a span that included ten successful title defenses. Usman is certainly a far cry from this Herculean feat. However, he can add another layer to his argument as one of the greatest champions the sport has ever seen if he is able to beat a man of Covington’s caliber a second time.
Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington are both elite wrestlers. Usman won a national collegiate wrestling championship while at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Covington was an All-American wrestler while at Oregon State University. This experience in recurve wrestling means both men are some of the best wrestlers in the UFC. While they’re both more than capable on the mat, each has also proven that they can hit with the best of them. Usman has won four punch knockouts since joining the organization; Covington won three fights in the same way. This fight will ultimately come down to a question of will. There’s a reason these two are feared by the other fighters in their division: they’re the two best welterweights in the world.
If Covington is able to create an upheaval on November 6 and beat the slightly favored defending champion Usman, it seems very likely that this rivalry is headed for a trilogy. Fighting fans would love nothing more than to see these two behemoths step into the Octagon for the third time. However, if Usman wins, he will have to seek out an opponent convincing enough to spark the interest of spectators in the sport. There is always another challenger, and each fighter’s aura of invincibility is soon suppressed by a conquering enemy. The question for the other welterweights in the organization is which of them has what it takes to beat the man many consider to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport?
On November 6th, all mixed martial arts fans must watch Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington go head to head for the second time. Both men have a lot at stake; the trajectory of their career depends on the outcome of the fight. It doesn’t hurt that the two have a fierce rivalry and openly disdain each other. There are a few instances in the history of the sport where the rematch not only lives up to the hype, but exceeds the level of competition seen in the first meeting. Usman vs. Covington II has the potential to fall into this category. All that’s left for fight fans to do now is wait and see.