UFC 268 to Feature Two Title Matches … and Joe Rogan’s Return as Commentator

Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington in their first 2019 fight at UFC 245, which won fight of the night honors after Usman won by TKO in the fifth round.
Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington in their first 2019 fight at UFC 245, which won fight of the night honors after Usman won by TKO in the fifth round. YouTube

UFC 268 returns to pay-per-view this Saturday with two world title rematches, perfect for a primetime weekend date under New York City’s brightest lights. 

In the main event at Madison Square Garden, welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington square off for the second time in three years while women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas and former titleholder Zhang Weili also run it back for the co-main event.

There is no love lost between Usman and Covington. The two bitter rivals first fought in December 2019 with Usman scoring a knockout in the fifth round. In that fight, Covington pushed Usman like never before and his camp remains upset with some of referee Marc Goddard’s calls as well as the fight’s stoppage. Why Goddard should not have stopped the fight is unclear. Usman had already bloodied Covington and had him on the mat, delivering blows from above by the time Goddard stopped the action. 

Despite Covington campaigning for a quick rematch, Usman went on to fight Gilbert Burns and Jorge Masvidal twice. Neither Usman nor his manager thought Covington deserved another bout, but eventually, the highly anticipated rematch came to fruition and the arch rivals will finally throw down again Nov. 6 – against Usman’s will, according to Covington.

“It’s been tough,” Covington told ESPN. “They did not want it to happen. They were trying to find every way in the book out of fighting this rematch. The only reason they have to take it is the UFC gave him no choice. They said, ‘Hey, you fight this fighter or we just strip you – it’s one or the other.’”

Usman showed marked striking improvements under coach Trevor Wittman in back-to-back knockout wins over Burns and Masvidal, proving he’s not just a wrestler. This continued evolution as a fighter has the Nigerian entering the fight on an unprecedented ascension to welterweight G.O.A.T. status. 

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With 18 consecutive wins (14 in the UFC), Usman now fights as a dominant grappler and solid striker with one-punch knockout power. As the title defenses pile up, Usman threatens to make a real run to dethrone Georges St.-Pierre as the greatest welterweight of all time.

He’ll have stiff competition in Covington, however. The fighter who once held the UFC’s interim welterweight title (and brought the belt to the former Trump White House) has individualized his training regimen. Covington left a mega-gym, the American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida, for a gym solely focused on him — now named Colby Covington Inc.

Covington’s change could turn out to be the difference. He came very close to winning the belt before this significant transformation. This increased attention enhances Covington’s chances of getting an arm raised when the bout ends. He’ll have to battle through one of the greatest fighters of his time to do it, however.

2019 supplied one of great fights in recent memory, requiring gut-check moments for both fighters and heart-stopping action for the audience. With Usman looking to solidify his status as the greatest, the event should be incredible — without a doubt. Saturday is going to be bloody fun.

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