Daniel Cormier says Colby Covington’s name value is why he’s next in line for a UFC welterweight title shot.
UFC president Dana White declared Covington the No. 1 contender after he flew to London to weigh in as a backup for champion Leon Edwards’ title fight with Kamaru Usman this past Saturday at UFC 286.
Edwards (21-3 MMA, 13-2 UFC) retained his title by majority decision, but the champion is not sold on Covington (17-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) being the next title challenger. Cormier sees Belal Muhammad (22-3 MMA, 13-3 UFC) as the most deserving but argues that Covington’s name makes him a bigger fight.
“You start to think about what’s next, it says Colby Covington,” Cormier said on his ESPN show “DC & RC.” “Leon says he doesn’t want that fight. I believe outside of Jorge Masvidal, that is the most lucrative fight for him.
“When you start to look at who’s warranted, Belal Muhammad’s the most warranted. He’s done the most and deserves the fight, but he’s not sexy. The name’s not sexy. Colby Covington’s name is sexy. It draws people in. Whether you love him or you hate him, you have an opinion of him.”
The only other option Cormier sees as more lucrative for Edwards is Jorge Masvidal, who meets Gilbert Burns at UFC 287 on April 8. If Masvidal gets past Burns, that’s the fight Edwards appears to be leaning toward the most.
“Him and ‘Gamebred’ have a very bad history, a real beef,” Cormier said. “You don’t do what you did to a guy like Leon Edwards and get away with it. You may not be able to see it on the surface, but Leon Edwards ain’t one to play with. Leon Edwards is a real dude. He ain’t one to play with, bro. You don’t really get to do what Masvidal did and usually just get away with it.
He continued, “So, that fight makes all the sense in the world, but Masvidal has to beat Gilbert Burns, which is not a guarantee.”
If Burns beats Masvidal, then Cormier thinks Covington will secure his title shot.
“But what if Gilbert Burns wins?” Cormier said. “Look at what he did to Neil Magny, then he beats Masvidal. (Edwards) has options. The most deserving is Belal Muhammad. The most lucrative as of right now is Colby Covington. In three weeks, could change if Masvidal wins. That’s the worst case scenario for Colby Covington, is Masvidal wins, because then he may get jumped. But if if I’m guessing just like Aljamain (Sterling) said he wasn’t fighting till July and now he’s scheduled in May, I would assume it’ll be Colby Covington.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 286.