The UFC have been slammed by veteran welterweight contender, Santiago Ponzinibbio, with the Argentine questioning the merit in which former interim division champion, Colby Covington is expected to challenge for undisputed next, claiming the Clovis native has refused fight after fight. 

Ponzinibbio, a former training partner of former interim gold holder, Covington during their respective tenures at American Top Team, has been sidelined since April, suffering an eventual third round KO loss against Kevin Holland at UFC 287. 

As for Covington, the Clovis native, who currently holds the #2 rank at the welterweight limit, has been sidelined himself since handing arch-rival, Jorge Masvidal a one-sided unanimous decision loss at UFC 272 back in March of last year.

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Colby Covington is expected to fight Leon Edwards for gold later this year

However, despite his failed prior championship outings, and period of inactivity, Covington is expected to challenge for undisputed welterweight gold in his Octagon return – taking on Birmingham champion, Edwards.

Remaining receptive to any potential date with the UK standout, despite criticizing him for turning down a planned July title fight in London, Covington has been called out as a contender who repeatedly turn down fights, with the UFC blasted for granting him a championship tilt.

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“I like (Leon) Edwards, and I think I’ll go with him” Santiago Ponzinibbio told MMA Junkie during a recent interview. “He’s had very good evolution. He’s got good reach. It’s a southpaw fight. He has a good kicking gaem. He showed that against Kamaru (Usman). He’s got good hands and a very good defense. He improved a lot on the grappling. I see him very complete, and I pick him to be the favorite [against Colby Covington].”

“It doesn’t make a different what I think the company should do, but I think it’s wrong,” Santiago Ponzinibbio explained. “It’s wrong because Colby Covington is a fighter who turns down many fights, always. Even when he was here [at American Top Team]. He rejects a bunch of fights and whenever he wants to, and I believe there are fighters who are doing more and have more merit.” 

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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.