Colby Covington says he is the reason UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has decided to retire instead of stepping up to welterweight and trying to become a two-weight champion.

Covington was unimpressed with Nurmagomedov’s UFC 254 win over Justin Gaethje who he believes was over-hyped heading into the lightweight unification fight.

“I called that fight to a tee,” Covington told Submission Radio. “I said exactly what was going to happen. You had the fake news media building up Justin Gaethje like he was this All-Star wrestler and he had all the tools to beat Khabib, but what are they talking about? I saw that guy wrestle in college. While I was banging all the prom queens in college and pinning guys’ shoulders to the mat and winning national championships and becoming All-American, I saw Justin Gaethje wrestle. That guy sucked, man, he was a scrub. And just cause you wrestled, doesn’t mean you’re any good. So, I knew exactly how that was gonna go. I knew that Khabib – of course Khabib should be able to beat him, he’s fighting these little midgets. Come on, fight in your own weight class.”

‘Chaos’ believes Nurmagomedov is a natural welterweight. Covington says the undefeated Russian refuses to move up so he can continue beating smaller opponents while simultaneously avoiding a fight with him.

“There was a great American legend hero that said in college, ‘pussies cut weight’. And I’m not talking about Dan Gable, who I was around in college, the guy’s a legend, I’m talking about yours truly. I’m saying, if you have to cut weight, you’re a pussy. Why are you looking for this big advantage to have a weight advantage over these little guys and beat midgets? Come fight in a real man’s weight class.”

“I think I’m the man and I’m the reason that he doesn’t come up to 170 in the first place,” Covington said. “There’s a reason Khabib cuts all that weight. He cuts tonnes of weight. Everybody knows he walks around at like 190. He’s bigger than me. But I’m a real man, I fight in my weight class. I’ll fight a man any size. Khabib’s looking for a way to… he wants to beat up little midgets. Ok, that’s cool, Khabib, you beat up a bunch of little guys, a bunch of little midges. But you’re not gonna fight in a real man’s weight class like 170 or welterweight, because you know I’m the man. You know who’s here, you know you have no chance to keep that undefeated record. So, there’s a reason he’s looking to cut a bunch of weight and there’s a reason I’ll fight any man alive.”

Do you think Colby Covington could beat Khabib Nurmagomedov at 170lbs?

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.