Following Edwards’ majority decision victory to retain his welterweight title in the main event of UFC 286 this past Saturday, UFC President Dana White declared Covington as the next challenger for the belt — which has led to quite the debate amongst the MMA community. In fact, on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Edwards said he would turn down the fight with Covington because the former interim champion doesn’t deserve it.
Following the interview, Covington spoke with MMA Fighting and reacted to Edwards.
“This is the only piece of advice that I’m ever gonna give you, because next you’re going to get your ass whooped,” Covington told MMA Fighting. “There’s a saying, Leon – and shut your fumbling mouth and listen. Open your stupid ears and listen to the advice that I give because it’s the only advice I’m going to give to you, Leon: You don’t cross your boss – and you will learn the hard way.
“Remember that, Leon. That’s the only advice I’m going to give you. You don’t cross your boss.”
A lot of people were critical of White’s decision to name Covington the next challenger after not competing since defeating Jorge Masvidal in the main event of UFC 272 over a year ago — which led to an alleged out-of-the-octagon attack in Miami Beach, Fla., which led to a case scheduled to go to trial in May.
Edwards says that Covington’s absence should take him out of the running until he takes a fight with another contender.
“I definitely have a say,” Edwards said on The MMA Hour. “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.”
Covington scoffed at Edwards’ explanation, and the critics of White’s decision to name him the next-in-line for the 170-pound title.
“First off, you don’t make the calls,” Covington said. “You haven’t even defended the title. You fought a shell of his former self in Usman who obviously was doing too much filming for Wakanda Forever, for the Black Panther movie that he wasn’t focused, and he’s just past the hill. He’s one foot out, one foot in. You see him saying in interviews that he wants to retire. It was the wars that added up from me. Good job, Leon, you beat Usman. I beat Usman, too, at Madison Square Garden last November. We did the same exact thing.
“It’s just funny, man, like all of the f****** fans are trying to go after Dana, ‘Dana, Dana, Dana, you can’t let him get the title shot.’ Dude, you think Dana is going to listen to all of these f****** pathetic journalists – and they’re not even journalists, they’re f****** groupies. You think Dana’s going to listen to them when they were trying to get him canceled? All of these journalists tried to get Dana canceled for the Power Slap league. You think Dana’s going to listen to some of these f****** idiot, so-called journalists? It’s just f****** hilarious, dude. Everybody knows who the draw is, my haters have to accept it now.
“And the reason [that] they’re so mad is because all of my haters know I’m about to become undisputed champion of the world, and it’s the reason Leon is looking for easy fights. He knows he’s going to get beat by me and he’s afraid.”
If it were up to Covington, he would have his opportunity to capture the undisputed welterweight title in July during International Fight Week, but is open to any date the UFC wants to offer up.
If Edwards were to decline the fight and take a stand, Covington believes he’ll still get his title shot when he returns to the octagon — it just won’t be against Edwards.
“He gets stripped [if he doesn’t take the fight],” Covington predicts. “He will get stripped. He’s not the draw in this division, I’m the draw. Look at the numbers from over the weekend, I didn’t even fight and my numbers towered over the main event, those f****** nobodies. Leon Scott and Marty Fakenewsman, nobody wants to see these guys, they’re f****** stupid. Listen to Leon, fumbling over everything, there’s no personality, no charisma. Same thing with Marty, he needs a belt to stay relevant.
“For Leon to sit there and act like he’s Conor McGregor, you’re not Conor McGregor, bro. You don’t get to call the shots. You’re a nobody, dude.”