Robert Whittaker backs Colby Covington’s title challenge against Leon Edwards: ‘I think he does deserve it’


Robert Whittaker is backing Colby Covington as the next man to challenge reigning welterweight champion Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards.

Last month, fans were shocked to see Covington weigh in as the official backup for UFC 286’s main event clash between Edwards and former titleholder Kamaru Usman. Following the event, UFC president Dana White revealed that Covington would receive a shot at the 170-pound crown, a statement that would draw the ire of many fight fans and Edwards himself. White doubled down on his comments a week later after ‘Rocky’ dismissed the notion of Covington being the next man in line.

Fans have continued to debate whether or not ‘Chaos’ has done enough to justify a third title opportunity in the last four years. For former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker, there is no debate.

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“I think that fight between Leon and Masvidal would be great,” Whittaker said during an appearance on Fox Sports Australia. “Everybody has been wanting that fight. I think that’s a good fight for Masvidal. I think that’s a great fight for him. I don’t like him skipping the queue over Colby (Covington). I think Colby does deserve it. I know people are saying otherwise, but I think in my opinion Colby deserves that shot just because he has put a beating on most people.

“The Usman fight, I think stylistically, styles do make fights, and Usman and Colby, they just match up. It’s a hard fight for each other. It’s a hard fight for Colby whereas Leon and Masvidal is a good fight for Masvidal, but I think Colby’s a bad fight for Leon. It’s kind of that triangle rock paper scissors sort of formula.”

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Robert Whittaker Believes Masvidal Getting a Title Shot Would Be a ‘Slap in the Face’ to Colby Covington

To Covington’s credit, the outspoken conservative character has only lost to one man in the last eight years. The biggest issue that fans take with him receiving a title fight yet again is the fact that ‘Chaos’ does not hold a win over any fighter currently ranked in the welterweight top ten. In the last five years, Covington’s only victories have come against a past-his-prime Tyron Woodley and the aforementioned Jorge Masvidal who is currently riding a three-fight losing streak.

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“Surely Masvidal doesn’t jump Colby because Colby beat Masvidal. It makes no sense in any way. I’ve seen crazier things, but that would be a big slap in the face,” Whittaker concluded.

Masvidal will return to the Octagon on Saturday night for a high-stakes clash with No. 5 ranked welterweight contender Gilbert Burns. Gamebred’ goes into the bout as a 4-to-1 underdog, but if he manages to score the upset, he would have something Colby Covington does not; a win over a top-ten opponent.

That alongside the built-in ‘three-piece and a soda‘ storyline, the idea of Dana White pivoting to an Edwards vs. Masvidal showdown is not all that unrealistic.