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For a moment, it seemed a foregone conclusion we’d see Kamaru Usman make his first welterweight world title defense against Colby Covington.

But, backstage at UFC 236, the 170-pound champion confirmed that nothing in this world of mixed martial arts is certain, and that conversations will have to go on with the UFC before any fights are scheduled.

“Now you have to beg me for that fight,” Usman said, speaking of Covington. “We all know Colby has avoided this fight for a long, long time. And you know what? Now it’s time for you to do the appropriate work to make sure that you deserve this. Because that’s what he does, that’s what he thrives on – he thinks he deserves everything. He always puts out out there ‘I deserve this, this is what you owe me.’ No. It’s not about that. You’re not in the driver’s seat to make that decision.”

While Covington represents the most logical contender — particularly with his personal beef with Usman — the new champion wants everyone (including Covington himself) that there are other options that he could feel justified in taking.

“Look at where the division is now,” Usman said. “You’ve got freaking Anthony Pettis coming in and knocking out ‘Wonderboy,’ two-time title challenger,” Usman said. “You’ve got Masvidal coming in and knocking out Darren Till, former title challenger. There’s some things that are going on there. So based on how Ben Askren does in his next performance, that could be a possible option. Don’t forget Santiago Ponzinibbio is still out there. So, there’s options out there.”