Colby Covington will get the next crack at Leon Edwards and the UFC welterweight title.
That’s according to Dana White, who confirmed that the two-time title challenger would get another chance at becoming champion after he flew to the United Kingdom to serve as the backup fighter for the UFC 286 main event between Edwards and Kamaru Usman. Covington has already called for the fight to happen in July as part of the UFC’s annual International Fight Week festivities that culminates with UFC 290 in Las Vegas but White wasn’t quite ready to commit to that date just yet.
“I don’t know when we’ll do it but that’s the fight that makes sense and Colby came here and cut weight and did everything to be here for this fight,” White said when addressing Covington.
“He deserves the fight. Not to mention that he’s the second- or third-best guy in the world.”
Covington hasn’t fought since March 2022 when he earned a unanimous decision victory over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 272.
Following that win, Covington was allegedly attacked by Masvidal during an incident outside a restaurant in Miami Beach, Fla. that led to the UFC’s first and only “BMF” champion being arrested. While Masvidal still faces charges stemming from that incident, he’s already booked his next fight against Gilbert Burns in the UFC 287 co-main event.
As for Covington, he has remained on the sidelines and he’s largely stayed out of the spotlight until his sudden appearance to back up the UFC 286 main event on Saturday.
While there are other potential challengers available including Belal Muhammad on a nine-fight unbeaten streak, White remained adamant that Covington is next.
Even with the rivalry between Masvidal and Edwards after they got into a backstage fight at a UFC London event in 2019, White is sticking by Covington as the No. 1 contender.
“Colby gets the next shot,” White said. “No matter what happens [with Burns vs. Masvidal].”
The same goes for UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev, who suddenly expressed interest in challenging Edwards in October when the promotion returns to Abu Dhabi. White quickly shot down that idea as well while repeating himself yet again that Covington will face Edwards next.
I want Leon next, October in Abu Dhabi— Makhachev Islam (@MAKHACHEVMMA) March 19, 2023
“Colby’s next,” White said. “We’re going back to Abu Dhabi on Oct. 21 but it definitely won’t be Leon and [Makhachev].”
Obviously, Covington appears to be the only person White will consider for a title shot, although it remains to be seen when he might actually face Edwards after the reigning UFC welterweight champion fought five hard rounds against Usman on Saturday.