UFC 245: Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington trade barbs before fight in Las Vegas

Kamaru Usman
Kamaru Usman became the first African fighter to win an Ultimate Fighting Championship title when he beat Tyron Woodley in March.

UFC 245 - its final pay-per-view show of 2019 - boasts three title fights, including a main event in which one of the sport's most heated rivalries comes to a head inside the octagon.

Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, 32, and former interim champion Colby Covington have been on a collision course since Usman defeated Tyron Woodley to capture the 170lb title in March.

Covington, 31, has been making headlines with his controversial 'trash talk' in the build-up to Saturday's fight in Las Vegas.

Usman's manager Glenn Robinson died after a suspected heart attack in September 2018, and Covington has said Robinson will be "watching from hell" this weekend.

After criticism from Robinson's family, Covington said he was playing a character, after feeling his back was against the wall earlier in his MMA career.

But the American, who arrived at a question and answer session on Wednesday wearing a bright orange suit and carrying Donald Trump Jr's book, said he would continue doing what has brought him notoriety in the UFC, regardless of the likely fallout if he loses.

Colby Covington
Covington has recently suggested his controversial comments are part of a character he plays

"I've just always been real and I've not been afraid to say how it is," he said.

"A lot of this stuff I say is truth, and if people have feelings, this isn't the (Ultimate) Feelings Championship it's the (Ultimate) Fighting Championship, so whatever I've got to do to sell a fight is what I've got to do.

"I've been real. A lot of fighters, they're scared of the fall. I'm not scared of the fall, because I know I'm a winner, and I'm going to keep winning."

Nigerian Usman has a different view, saying Covington's comments about his persona started as an act to save his UFC career and suggested some element of mental fragility before this weekend's fight.

"That just lets me know there's a weakness," he said.

"Let's dissect this thing. You're already finding a way out. He said: 'Once I get beat up on Saturday, don't hate me because I was just putting on an act because they were going to cut me.'

"He's doing that, but do you realise when I fought Tyron Woodley here in this same building, he showed up at somebody's open workout?

"If you want to be the champ, you go to show up at the champ's open workout and try to distract them, right? Why did you show up at mine? Because he knew it was going to happen. He knew I was the most dangerous guy in the division and he knew that I was the fight he didn't want. So he's already been showing his cards for a long time.

"I'm relaxed because I know what I'm going to do."

Elsewhere on the card, featherweight champion Max Holloway and two-division women's champion Amanda Nunes are big favourites to retain their titles against Alexander Volkanovski and Germaine de Randamie respectively.

Holloway has not lost at featherweight since his defeat by Conor McGregor in 2013, while Volkanovski's 17-fight unbeaten run stretches back to the same year.

Nunes is looking to register her second victory over former featherweight champion De Randamie in their bantamweight title bout to extend her winning run to 10 in a row and ensure she finishes 2019 as a simultaneous two-weight world champion.