Following Leon Edwards’ impressive UFC 286 title defense against Kamaru Usman, UFC President Dana White announced that Colby Covington would be the next contender for the welterweight title.
However, Edwards recently stated that he is not interested in facing Covington, going as far as to say he wouldn’t sign a bout agreement for the match-up if it were offered to him.
Despite Edwards’ reluctance, White believes that he will ultimately agree to the bout. As the reigning champion, White feels that it is Edwards’ obligation to defend his title against the most deserving opponent, and he views Covington as just that.
“Leon didn’t fight for like almost two years he got the shot” – White told media.
And this isn’t exactly true. Edwards was one of the only guys that would accept Chimaev duel in 2020, and his issues were actually a part of the pandemic that wouldn’t allow for him to travel.
Edwards also refuted this narrative in a Helwani interview confirming he was taken out of the rankings at one point and confirmed Dana White privilege is real.
“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.” – Edwards told Helwani.
White openly asked reporters to explain why Covington shouldn’t be the next contender for Edwards, stating that if Usman didn’t exist, Covington would have been the champ for a while.
While some have criticized Covington’s inactivity, White dismissed these concerns, referencing an alleged encounter with Jorge Masvidal in which Covington was reportedly injured.
White is adamant that Covington is more deserving of facing Edwards than anyone else in the division. He views Covington as a wrestler with a “funky style” that will prove challenging for Edwards, who has already faced and beaten Usman twice.
“I don’t blame Leon. Leon just got through Usman twice and now he’s looking at another wrestler now with a funky style that’s tough to deal with. When you become the champ, everybody’s coming after you.”
As White pointed out, becoming the champ means that every contender in the division will be coming after you, and Edwards is no exception. While Edwards may not be thrilled about fighting Covington, he will need to defend his title against the best in the division. And according to White, Covington is currently the best.
The welterweight division is full of talented fighters, and the Edwards vs. Covington match-up promises to be an exciting one. Fans will have to wait and see whether Edwards ultimately agrees to the fight, but with White’s unwavering confidence in Covington’s worthiness, it seems likely that this will be the next 170-pound title matchup.
Since 2014, Benny A. King has been fully immersed in the world of combat sports. Starting with a blog about Greco Roman wrestling, Benny’s passion for combat sports has led him to explore various disciplines.