It seems that plenty of mixed martial arts fans would be celebrating if reigning UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman beats Colby Covington in his first title defence.
Usman became the first African-born UFC champion after he dethroned the then-champion Tyron Woodley in a five-round war at UFC 235.
He is currently taking time off the cage to recover from an injury but matchmakers have already linked Covington to his name for his future return.
Covington, who had an ugly confrontation with Usman at a Las Vegas Casino after UFC 235, is fresh off an emphatic win over Robbie Lawler at UFC Newark.
The win officially earned him the long-awaited title shot as confirmed by UFC president Dana White, while his friend and closest rival for the title shot, Jorge Masvidal, will be given a different opponent.
Ahead of this intriguing clash, Usman made a revelation about his fans urging him to kill the former interim champion for them.
— theScore (@theScore) August 7, 2019
Speaking to TMZ Sports, the Nigerian-American champion shared he has received thousands of messages from his Instagram followers, begging him to give ‘Chaos’ a beating worse than Ben Askren had suffered.
“I’ve been deleting messages for the past two days from Instagram.” -(transcript from MMA Junkie)
“I’ve just deleted, deleted, deleted messages – thousands of messages on Instagram – of people saying: ‘Bro, you’ve gotta kill this dude.’ It’s not ‘beat him,’ it’s ‘kill this guy,’ ‘kill him for us,’ ‘I want him done worse than Askren was.’”
Usman said this ‘malicious intent’ stems from Colby’s WWE-like stunts, which do not sit well with hardcore MMA fans.
“People have malicious intent for this guy, myself included, and I’m just blessed to be able to go out there and do it.”
“When you get a guy like Covington, who’s bringing the WWE aspect of entertainment into it, it rubs a lot of people the wrong way.”
“People don’t like that because they know the basis of what mixed martial arts was built upon. So that’s the big hang-up of why people hate this (guy) so much.”
Kamaru Usman opens as big betting favorite over Colby Covington
⚫️Who do you favor in the upcoming Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington welterweight title fight? pic.twitter.com/2Ce5b7oB9T
— MMA Feed (@MMAFeed1) August 5, 2019
Not The People’s Champ
The welterweight champion also downplayed Covington’s ‘The People’s Champ” tag for himself amid the fans’ call to make him suffer in their title fight.
“He’s calling himself ‘The People’s Champ,’ but you can’t be with the people, because the people want to harm you.”
“You have to walk around with security each and everywhere you go because they want to harm you, not because they love you.”
With a massive clash for the welterweight belt looming, Usman wants his first challenger to keep himself healthy so they can make the fight happen.
“Mr. Covington, you talk a big game, but you and I both know this is a fight that you didn’t want.”
“You didn’t want to have to face this reality that’s coming next. Well, it’s gonna happen now. Unless you have to have another nose job, it’s gonna happen now.”
“So please, don’t do anything crazy. Keep yourself healthy, and let’s make it happen before the year’s over.”
— Sherdog by Mandatory (@sherdogdotcom) August 6, 2019
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington)