Leon Edwards is not convinced that Colby Covington deserves a shot at his UFC welterweight title and would rather settle old scores with Jorge Masvidal in retrospect.
The Birmingham fighter retained his title with a majority decision victory over Kamaru Usman at UFC 286.
It was the third meeting between the old rivals, with Edwards winning the second last August via brutal knockout to take the tie before claiming victory on the judges’ scorecards in London on Saturday night.
It ends the rivalry with Edwards, who wants to continue his career. After the fight, Dana White confirmed that Covington, who was watching from the ring in the capital, is next in line for the title fight.
Covington has not fought since Masvidal won by unanimous decision in March 2022 and although he has White’s backing, Edwards wondered why the American is next in line.
“I don’t know how that makes sense,” Edwards said at a news conference.
“He hasn’t fought in over a year. He sat out, not hurt, I just don’t understand how he just slips for the world title when there are other guys active and fighting.
“I feel like I’ve earned my way, so I have to decide who to fight next.”
Edwards has a history with Masvidal and fought behind the scenes with the Florida fighter at the O2 Arena in 2019, with a fight between the two never materializing last year.
Masvidal will face Gilbert Burns in April and if ‘Gamebred’ succeeds, Edwards would rather see him win than Covington.
“When we watch pay-per-view when Masvidal beats Burns, that’s the fight we have to fight,” he said.
“But I just don’t understand how Colby sits out a year, isn’t injured and just slips in. I had to go through 12 battles to get here. When I was trying to win my title, people asked me, ‘Who is he? ?”
“Now I’m the king. And he can cross the border? Like I said, I’m the king. I decide who’s next.”
Of Masvidal he added: “I just don’t like him. So I think that’s what needs to happen. There’s a story to tell. If he gets the job done I’ll think about it, if he begs me let I might sneak him in.”
Meanwhile, Conor McGregor will make his long-awaited return to the cage with a fight against Michael Chandler scheduled for August.
“Notorious” returns to welterweight and plans to become three-weight world champion. A fight against McGregor would be a hugely lucrative option for Edwards, who was happy for the fight to be talked about, but insists the Irishman needs to “prove his case” in the division first.
“Anyone can get it,” Edwards said. “Prove your case in the department and I’ll give you a title shot. I want to become an active champion, I’m still young so I want to fight. So if he proves his case, I’ll fight him.”
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