Part of being a UFC champion is that, as soon as you vanquish one challenger, there's no downtime before the talk shifts to questions of what comes next. That was true on Saturday night when, after Kamaru Usman knocked out Jorge Masvidal in the main event of UFC 261, focus immediately shifted to discussions of a rematch with Colby Covington in his future.
During the post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White confirmed Covington, who was seated cageside and shown multiple times during the fight, was the next man up.
"The clear cut guy now is Covington and we'll see how these other things play out," White said. "The guy right now is Colby."
When it was Usman's turn to speak at the press conference, he was asked about the idea of rematching Covington, whom he defeated by fifth-round TKO in December 2019, breaking Covington's jaw in the process.
Usman seemed uninterested in even mentioning Covington's name, instead lumping his old rival in with the crowd of top welterweights the champ had already beaten, and beaten with increasing efficiency.
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"I mean, I've finished my last three opponents," Usman said. "I've finished them all. I just need to take some time and train and continue to get better. These guys have got to show me something because, right now, I'm the champ and I'm the most active guy in the division. These guys can't just wait around and wait for me to call their number. They need to show me something.
"I asked Dana, I fought any and everyone they put in front of me. I never said no. These guys ducked me for years, but I got here and I haven't ducked anyone. This is like a track meet, I'm so far ahead of these guys and I'm coming around the track and coming with a vengeance."
The claims of inactivity read like a shot at Covington, who has only stepped into the Octagon once since losing to Usman, beating Tyron Woodley via TKO during Woodley's four-fight losing skid that started when Usman took the title from him.
Usman said his primary attention would be paid to his daughter, saying she allowed him to leave for six weeks to prepare for Masvidal and now he owed her his time.
Pushed again on Covington and whether there was more he needed to prove to gain satisfaction against a man who has trash talked him for years, Usman had a simple answer.
"I broke the kid's jaw," Usman said. "How satisfied could you be?"