Leon Edwards is not going along with the plan when it comes to his next challenger for his welterweight title.
After defeating Kamaru Usman for the second time in a row, Edwards had to sit by during the UFC 286 post-fight presser as Dana White announced Colby Covington would be next to face him. The champion was less than enthused.
Edwards made it a point to put the potential fight with Covington down right away. He is continuing his campaign and hopes to deny Covington another title shot until he deserves it.
During his appearance on The MMA Hour, Edwards made it clear that he is in no hurry to defend his title against an undeserving challenger.
“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.”
Leon Edwards is risking the UFC stripping his title
Edwards is towing a dangerous line going against White’s wishes. If he outright turns away Covington, despite him having a point, the UFC could move to strip him or appoint Covington an interim champion.
Covington shouldn’t be at the front of the line, but even Edwards admits he isn’t that far out from earning the opportunity.
“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.”
The welterweight division has been blown open with Usman’s fall from grace. Aside from Edwards, Covington could face rivals Khamzat Chimaev or Belal Muhammad who have been aggressively pursuing the former interim champion in the past.
Chances are that if the UFC does want to stage Edwards vs. Covington, then that’s exactly what we should expect to happen next.