Kamaru Usman is issuing challenges and delivering warning shots, following his win over Demian Maia at UFC Fight Night 129. But, the promotion’s welterweight champ Tyron Woodly had a warning of his own for Usman, following the contender’s victory.
Usman’s wrestling defense and striking ruled the day against Maia on Saturday, and the rising star cruised to a clear cut, decision win over the longtime contender. For months, Usman has been claiming that the division’s elite are avoiding a bout with him, on account of his abilities and the run he’s put together.
“Hey, champ: You know my social media hasn’t changed since I got in the game five years ago,” Usman said. “Welterweight, and I’m coming for that gold strap. And with that performance, even with some handicaps, no one can deny that I’m definitely top five right now in the division.”
Woodley was on the FS panel for the broadcast, and he had this to say in response:
“Kamaru Usman, congratulations,” Woodley said. “I don’t ever want to take away the credit. Demian Maia is a game opponent. Me as the champion, I’m always welcoming any challenger. Just make it to that point, I’ll be on the other side of the octagon. I did see a couple things that if you do against me, you might end up waking up with the smelling salt. But hey, hats off to you. Great job. Just being real.”
The champ also made some similar comments after Covington’s win over Maia, in terms of alluding the striking abilities and defense of the contenders. It’s worth noting that in Woodley’s bout with Maia, he did land fewer strikes than either Usman or Covington did, but he also was hit less.
All this aside, it’s difficult to imagine that these two will square off anytime soon. Covington is fighting Rafael dos Anjos on June 9th for the interim title, and the winner will almost certainly fight Woodley next. In addition, Stephen Thompson is scheduled to fight Darren Till next Sunday, so, it wouldn’t be surprising at all if the winner faced Usman.
If and when Woodley and Usman fight though, it has the makings of a compelling bout.