“Chaos”, a former interim titleholder, weighed in as the back-up plan for Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman in March and saw company president Dana White imply he could get the next shot, which had Edwards saying in April, “I don’t know why he’s getting pushed so much.”
Luque looks to re-enter the mix with a win over Rafael dos Anjos in the main event of UFC Vegas 78 this Saturday in Las Vegas, and had a hard time finding logic in giving Covington a title shot given the fact he hasn’t fought since March 2022, defeating Jorge Masvidal via decision four months after losing another title match.
“I think it’s a very complicated situation because it makes no sense whatsoever as a sport,” Luque said on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting podcast Trocação Franca. “And when you look at the marketing, I kind of understand a little, but Colby’s star power is not as big as it was when he fought Masvidal and had those two fights with Kamaru. I think it’s another moment. Maybe [the UFC] is trying to really bring some light to the division with this title fight, but I would go with Belal.”
Belal Muhammad in undefeated in over four years, a stretch that includes nine wins and one no contest against Edwards himself, when an unintentional eye-poke ended their main event bout 19 seconds into the second round. Muhammad has since defeated Demian Maia, Stephen Thompson, Sean Brady, Gilbert Burns and Luque.
“I think you can build a story there, the fact it’s a rematch and there was a no contest,” Luque said. “Belal deserves a lot. I’m one of the guys he’s beat and I know Belal is only fighting tough guys. He fought me, ‘Durinho’, he knocked out Sean Brady. He’s putting in the work. Sometimes he plays safe and doesn’t take risks, like it was against ‘Durinho’, and I understand that it goes against what the UFC wants to sell, but there’s a point you can’t hold it no more. He’s coming off a lot of wins and he deserves it.”
If he could suggest some match-ups to give clarity to the 170-pound class, Luque has the ideal welterweight headliner for a UFC event.
“They could make Leon Edwards against Belal and put Kamaru vs. Colby 3 in the co-main event,” he said. “[Usman and Covington] would be the back-up and do their third fight. If Colby wins, cool, he fights [for the title]. That’s a possibility.”