Leon Edwards suspects Colby Covington is jealous of him because the UFC welterweight champion insisted any combat between the pair will solely occur on his phrases.
Covington has twice come up brief when combating for the 170lb title after dropping on each events to Kamaru Usman, who Edwards dethroned because the division’s kingpin final August after which beat once more in March.
Despite Covington’s most up-to-date contest being in March final yr, the American, who weighed in because the back-up possibility for Edwards-Usman II, has been put in because the Birmingham fighter’s subsequent opponent.
Covington was indignant a July date in London was a non-starter for Edwards, who believes he has taken a few of his rival’s star energy and is adamant any future foe must dance to his tune.
Edwards informed the PA information company: “They were saying if Kamaru wasn’t champion, it would be Colby. That was the narrative he was trying to push but then when I went out there and did what I did, now I think the jealousy is coming in.
“Within a week (of beating Usman the second time), Colby was like ‘you need to fight me’. I was like ‘chill out’. It goes off my timing, I don’t work off him. He’s the contender, I’m the champion.
“He’s trying to fool everyone, like everything goes off what he says but it doesn’t. We’re still figuring out the next step and I’ll let him know when I’m ready.
“I’ve worked hard to be in this position to be able to call the shots and who I fight and when I fight. Now I’m here I should be able to dictate within reason who goes next and who makes the most sense.”
Covington’s latest inactivity – he has fought simply thrice since December 2019 and each his wins have come towards now-retired fighters – meant Edwards was initially proof against a showdown.
Edwards now appears to have warmed to the concept following Covington’s trash-talking and has his sights set on the combat happening at UFC 294, which is about to happen on October 21 in Abu Dhabi.
Edwards stated: “He’s definitely at the top of the list as far as who’s next. I just want to fight him because I don’t like him so that will be even more fuel for me in training.
“I think he’s a weirdo. He’s an alright fighter. But look at his resume compared to my resume.
“He hasn’t beaten anyone in the top five, he’s fought people at the back end of their careers and his last five fights are win-lose-win-lose-win, it’s not consistent.”
Edwards is unbeaten in his final 12 fights – with 11 wins and one no-contest towards Belal Muhammad, who can also be within the body for a title shot after beating Gilbert Burns earlier this month.
Edwards stated: “As far as skill-sets go, I truly don’t believe (Belal) is on my level. He’s a good fighter but I feel there are two different levels between me and him.
“I want to fight them all one day. They’re all similar fights, wrestling-based kind of guys. There’s no trickiness with the opponents.”
The Jamaica-born 31-year-old will probably be swapping the octagon for the soccer pitch after signing up for Soccer Aid at Old Trafford on June 11, the place he will probably be in aim for a World XI towards England.
The alternative to be on the identical staff as Jamaica’s Usain Bolt and play towards Paul Scholes is a dream come true for Edwards, who lived within the shadow of Villa Park when he first moved to the UK along with his household aged 9.
He added: “To be able to share the pitch with people like that, for a kid like me it’s a dream come true. It’s a bucket list moment for me and my friends and team are excited.”
:: Tickets for Soccer Aid For UNICEF on Sunday eleventh June 2023 are actually on sale by way of www.socceraid.org.uk/tickets with a household of 4 capable of attend for simply £60 – two adults and two youngsters