With Leon Edwards beating Kamaru Usman and sealing the trilogy at UFC 286, there has been a lot of talk about his next fight. Whilst UFC President Dana White has named Colby Covington as the next title challenger, Leon seems to have conflicting opinions.
Prior to UFC 286, there were rumors of Colby Covington being the backup fighter for the main event. Lo and behold, “Chaos” showed up to the weigh-ins, much to the surprise of the fans and the fighters too. Even during and after the event, Covington made his presence known, putting himself in contention for the belt next.
However, Leon remains less convinced of Covington’s legitimacy as a title challenger. “Listen, he ain’t getting a title shot next fight,” Edwards told Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour. 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, ‘Okay, 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.”
For the most part, Leon believes that Colby is being given “Dana White privilege”. According to Leon, there is no clear contender in the welterweight division at the moment. He believes that everyone, including Covington, is one fight away from making their case as a genuine challenger. Thus, Edwards insists that he will be sitting back on his throne for the time being and making his decision.
Leon Edwards refuses to fight Colby Covington next- fans react!
With Leon refusing to fight Colby Covington, he clarified that he will not sign on the dotted line if he is presented with the contract. As such, whenever a fighter makes such a comment there are bound to be fan reactions on the matter. With some claiming that Leon is ‘ducking’ the real champ, there are others who feel that the champ’s reasoning behind the decision is valid.
Thus, let’s take a look at some of the best fan reactions on the matter.
He knows he’s about to lose his belt that’s why lol
— kay (@Special_Kay32) March 20, 2023
He’s declining a fight w/ a non contender. Lol it’s almost like people don’t recognize championship behavior anymore Lol who’s the #1 contender in the division? If we are having pretend belts then let go full WWE and do intercontinental a us belt
— DaMarques Johnson (@DaMarques_UFC) March 21, 2023
How is it okay for Colby to say “Leon Scott has to wait in line” while he was contending for the belt, yet when Leon says no to Colby he is scared? He just beat the guy who is supposed to be the best in the world twice…
— Gillz (@warGilly) March 20, 2023
Oh stop it. Same thing is currently happening to Belal Muhammad. The top-3 don’t want to fight down in rank and risk their title shot. Happens in almost every weight class. It wasn’t about Leon. It was about the rankings. This won’t go well for him if it’s the fight Dana wants.
— Shelfy (@RealShelfy) March 20, 2023
When Colby had the belt, he told Leon to get in line, that he didn’t deserve a shot at it. But now that Leon’s champ and Colby hasn’t fought in two years or beat Usman, he deserves it? lol people just like Colby, he’s 100% not the most deserving of a title shot
— Joey Moffett (@joeymoffett87) March 20, 2023
I think Leon really wants to maximize his time as champ. Leon isn’t afraid to fight Colby whatsoever but I think he does see it as a very bad matchup(likely he loses). He wants more suitable matchups right now, so he can stay champ as long as possible. Can’t blame him for that
— clancy shannon (@clancyshannon7) March 20, 2023
the UFC has shown they’ll release a champion with Ngannou, Leon has less of a claim to the 170 throne given he’s only beaten Kamaru(impressive nonetheless). Now that Edwards is threatening to refuse fights, the UFC has grounds to release him from their contract, Leon is capping.
— rEdsnflr (@redsnflr) March 20, 2023
Yeaaaah, Edwards doesn’t have that type of clout to pick his fights lol
He’s definitely fighting Colby next.
The UFC is a business at the end of the day.
Dana is set on Colby getting the next shot cause he’ll sell the fight. He’s absolutely fighting Colby next lol
— black (@black666_____) March 20, 2023
good on him for standing up for himself but i don’t see it working out in his favor
— Ben🔜🌕 (@butze_) March 20, 2023
For the most part, the fans are divided on the matter. Whilst a vast majority believes that Edwards is yet to be in a position to pick and choose his opponents, there is a doubt on whether the UFC will share his sentiments. Once UFC President Dana White gives his verdict, it is most likely to be what happens.
However, with Leon refusing to budge, the UFC could be forced to either release the Jamaican or create an interim title fight. Although the bout has been proposed for international fight week, the finer details of the fight will need to be worked on sooner rather than later.
At the same time, the UFC’s reasoning for pitting Covington against Edwards is clearly a move to sell more PPVs and draw big numbers. Thus, with negotiations soon to start, what do you think will be the likely outcome? Will Leon Edwards comply with the UFC’s decisions or will the champ stamp his authority on the matter? Only time will tell.