Former interim UFC welterweight champion, Colby Covington has claimed that former undisputed lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov avoided a long-speculated move to the 170lbs division – due to his own presence at the weight class.

Covington, the current #2 ranked welterweight contender, has yet to return to active competition since March of last year, defeating arch-rival, Jorge Masvidal in a one-sided unanimous decision victory in the main event of UFC 272.

As for Khabib, the undefeated, 29-0 former undisputed lightweight champion, called time on his own mixed martial arts career back in October 2020, bowing out of the sport following a successful lightweight title unification win against former interim champion, Justin Gaethje.

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Colby Covington claimed his presence swayed Khabib Nurmagomedov from a welterweight move

Linked with a move to the welterweight ranks following his ascension to the throne back in 2018, Khabib never made the move to 170lbs. And Clovis native, Covington has theorised that his rise through the ranks during Khabib’s title run at lightweight forced the Dagestan native against a weight class leap.

“He (Khabib Nurmagomedov) never came to 170 [pounds], because the man’s here,” Colby Covington said during an interview with MyMMANews. “He doesn’t wanna fight the man. He knew the man that had a great style for him, the guy that was way more well-rounded, could stuff his takedowns, being in his face and punch, and putting volume on him, and doesn’t break under cardio.”

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“Like, that’s what I do best,” Colby Covington explained. “I would’ve walked him down. So, him and (Islam) Makhachev need to shut their f*cking mouths. They’re all talk and no walk unlike myself.” 

Arriving in London last week as an official backup to the UFC 286 welterweight title headliner between champion, Leon Edwards, and past opponent, Kamaru Usman, Covington successfully made weight on Friday, however, his services were not required by the promotion on short-notice.

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However, following the event, UFC president, Dana White, confirmed how Covington would be fighting Edwards for the undisputed welterweight championship next – with the latter suggesting a July return at UFC 290 during International Fight Week

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.