In the immediate aftermath of Leon Edwards second win over Kamaru Usman at UFC 286 on Saturday night the welterweight champion pushed aside Dana White’s talk of him fighting Colby Covington next, insisting that he doesn’t deserve the opportunity, and a few days later he’s now doubled down on that decision.
“I definitely have a say,” Edwards said on The MMA Hour show. “Listen, he ain’t getting a title shot next fight. Look at the road I had to take to get there. There’s no way you’re getting beat twice by the guy that I just beat twice, went out and beat Masvidal, and then sit out for a year and a half, not even tweeting or nothing, just go missing for a year and then randomly pops up at the weigh-ins and it’s like, ‘OK, he’s fighting for the title next.’ It makes no sense at all, so let’s see how it plays out. He has to go out there and earn his way like I had to do.
“Khamzat [Chimaev] and me were calling each other out for years. This is a guy that I got matched up with three times in a row. I took the [Chimaev] fight and [Covington] didn’t take the fight and he’s getting rewarded for not taking the fight. When it was me, I got removed from the rankings. So ‘Dana White privilege’ is definitely real.”
Many people were caught unawares by the fact that Covington emerged on Friday as the back-up fighter for the Edwards vs. Usman trilogy fight in London, and remarkably it turns out that even ‘Rocky’ himself didn’t know that’s who he would have had to fight on ultra-short notice if Usman had been unable to compete for any reason.
“I found out on the weigh-in day when I saw on Twitter that Colby Covington weighed in, I was like, ‘What? What’s he weighing in for?’” Edwards said. “Then obviously it makes sense that he was the backup fighter.”
As far as the 12-fight unbeaten Edwards is concerned, after a 2-2 run in his last four fights and more than a year layoff, Covington needs to get at least another win first before he can be considered worthy of a title shot.
“I feel like he needs at least one more fight,” Edwards said. “Everyone else is fighting and working their way to get to a title shot, so why should he be sitting out for a year not doing nothing and then randomly slide into the title shot? I feel like he should go out there and fight one of the top 5 guys, top 6 guys, and we’ll go from there.”
That being said, the issue Edwards has is that he doesn’t have a better alternative option to present at this time, with what appears to be his preferred option of fighting his rival Jorge Masvidal not making much sense either given that the No.11 ranked ‘Gamebred’ is on a three-fight losing streak and has a tough fight against Gilbert Burns coming up next month.
“There’s literally no clear contender right now and I feel like they’re all one fight away from the world title. So I’ll sit back on my throne and have a look.”