UFC 245: Kamaru Usman Feels Tyron Woodley is a Better Fighter than Colby Covington

Tyron Woodley has a better skill set, and is a better fighter than Colby Covington, welterweight champ Kamaru Usman said ahead of UFC 245.

Las Vegas, NV — UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is nothing if not motivated to face rival Colby Covington at UFC 245 this weekend.

There’s been plenty of trash talk heading in, of course. With Covington there always is. The fight itself, well, Usman finds it “very exciting. I’m pumped for it, I’m excited for it, I can’t wait.”

Usman (15-1) addressed the fight with media outlets including Cageside Press on Thursday, at the UFC 245 media day.

“I’m focused right now. I live in the present right now,” he said, refusing to look past Covington. At the same time, however, “I’m focused on after the fight. That’s the way my mind works. I’m already thinking about the celebration. Okay, how do I celebrate, do I jump up on the cage? Do I shoot him while he’s down?”

Making a shooting gesture with the last comment, Usman was clearly joking. It is an emotional situation, however. Anything involving Covington, a MAGA-hat wearing, Trump supporting trash-talker, tends to be.

For Usman, however, it’s all about keeping those emotions in check. “I’m not saying it’s not emotional. Every fight is emotional. When you fight another man, mano a mano, you’re fighting on his emotions. It’s part of learning how to control that.”

“A lot of people are saying ‘Am I going to be that emotional?’ Like they saw in Aldo and McGregor and this and that,” the 170lb champ continued. “No. That’s part of being a professional, you have to be able to learn how to control that. I’m not coming out reckless. I’ve tried that, it didn’t work before, so why would I repeat that again?”

Instead, the UFC 245 main event, for Usman, will come down to “being calculated and getting the job done.”

That’s not to say his disdain for Covington won’t manifest in the octagon.

“There’s added aggression, of course. The elbows, usually I’m bringing them back, I might bring it from the parking lot in Las Vegas to his face,” said Usman. “But now I’m bringing this from all the way back in Nigeria to his face. So there’s going to be a lot behind some of these shots, the kill shots. Yeah there’s a little added aggression, but that’s not going to take me away from the calculated game plan and systematically finishing this guy.”

Asked to compare Covington to the man he won the belt from earlier this year, Tyron Woodley, Usman gave the edge to the ex-champ. “Tyron Woodley has a better skill set, Tyron Woodley is a better fighter,” suggested Usman. “But once two guys get in there, both guys trained through training camp. They put the hard work in. So when two guys get in there, now it’s more of the mental, how you use all this training to dismantle the other guy.”

As such, Usman sees Covington as a different challenge. One that comes with a different energy. But “skill-wise, he’s nowhere near Tyron Woodley.”

Watch more with Kamaru Usman from the UFC 245 media day above!