The UFC welterweight division was turned upside down over the weekend at UFC 235, as Kamaru Usman absolutely dominated Tyron Woodley to become the new titleholder at 170lbs. The odds had Usman listed as a sizeable underdog, but he proved the odds wrong as he absolutely dominated the fight from bell to bell and became the new UFC welterweight champion. And now, we know what the next challenge will be for the new champ.
According to UFC president Dana White, Usman will not make his first title defense in a rematch against Woodley. Instead, Usman will take on former interim champ Colby Covington next. Over the weekend video emerged of Covington tracking down White in a Las Vegas casino and demanding a title shot. According to both Covington and White, once the cameras were turned off they had a good discussion as grown men, and made amends to their public spat over Covington not getting the title shot against Woodley.
White says that Covington will now take on Usman, and it’s likely this fight will take place sometime in the summer, perhaps at International Fight Week this July in Las Vegas, or maybe on the UFC’s pay-per-view card in Chicago in August. Usman didn’t take any damage at all in the Woodley fight, and Covington is healthy as well, so the UFC should have no problem getting this fight booked as soon as possible. Considering how stagnant the welterweight division was at times when Woodley was the champ, it will be nice to see Usman keep on a busy schedule as champ. At his current pace, he’ll hopefully fight three times this year.
As far as the Usman vs. Covington fight goes, it promises to have tremendous promotion leading up to it as both men are excellent talkers in the media. As for the matchup itself, it’s a battle between two of the best wrestlers at 170lbs. If you had asked me to line this fight a year ago, I would have given Covington a slight nod. But after seeing what Usman did to Woodley, you absolutely have to see Usman listed as a sizeable favorite. At this point, I think the oddsmakers would have to open up Usman as at least a 2-to-1 favorite, if not more. What he did to Woodley was absolutely pure domination, and as good as Covington has been himself in the UFC, Usman has looked even better.
UFC Wants Jones vs. Santos Next
Also, White said the UFC wants to book Jon Jones against Thiago Santos for the UFC light heavyweight title next. Jones had a bit of a scare in his fight against Anthony Smith as he nearly lost his belt due by DQ due to an illegal knee of a downed opponent, but he ended up winning a lopsided decision at the end of the five rounds. When asked by reporters if Jones could fight Brock Lesnar next, White said the UFC wants to book Santos against Jones. Santos is coming off of a brilliant KO over Jan Blachowicz and has gone 3-0 as a light heavyweight, so he’s more than deserving of fighting Jones. Hopefully that fight is booked soon, because Jones took no damage against Smith and it would be nice to see him stay on a busy scheduled in 2019 and fight a couple more times as well.