Leon Edwards first bout since June 2019 did not go as planned.
After a solid opening stanza against Belal Muhammad, Edwards inadvertantly poked his opponent in the eye, ending the UFC Fight Night 187 main event 18 seconds into Round 2. Due to the foul, the fight was ruled a no contest.
Former interim welterweight champion Colby Covington believes Edwards was fortunate to avoid a having a loss added to his ledger, and as far as “Chaos” is concerned, the English fighter still hasn’t broken his lengthy streak of inactivity after that performance.
“He still hasn’t fought in two years. He has a no contest which, by the way, that should have been a disqualification,” Covington told Submission Radio. “He did poke the guy in the face in the first round and backstage I know that Herb Dean gave him the warning, ‘Hey, don’t poke anyone in the eyes,’ because that’s the instruction they give every time before you go out there and fight. He should have been disqualified. I don’t know how that was a no contest. That being said, he still hasn’t fought in two years. How is he still in the rankings?”
After the fight, Edwards dismissed the possibility of an immediate rematch with Muhammad and instead called for a 170-pound title shot. Although Edwards entered UFC Fight Night 187 with an eight-bout winning streak, it’s unlikely a championship opportunity would arise coming off an incomplete performance if the promotion hadn’t given him one already. According to Covington, a rematch with he and Kamaru Usman is still the fight to make.
“It’s hilarious,” Covington said. “I had some people say, ‘Oh, it’s an accident!’ An accident is if one of the lights above the Octagon falls in the Octagon and hits one of the fighters in the head. An accident is if Herb Dean has a heart attack in the octagon and he’s not able to ref so they call the fight. That’s an accident. A second eye poke, a third eye poke, those aren’t accidents. That should have been a disqualification. The guy hasn’t won a fight in two years. He’s been turning down fights left and right with multiple people behind me that are nobodies. I’m the number one guy in the world, me and Marty Fakenewsman have unfinished business.”
Edwards was initially supposed to face Khamzat Chimaev at UFC Fight Night 187 before lingering issues from COVID-19 forced Chimaev to withdraw from the event. After that, the promotion looked into booking Covington against Edwards on short notice, but the man known as “Chaos” was not interested.
Covington said he would have accepted the bout if the UFC had made a financial offer to his liking.
“It was going to be a price tag,” Covington said. “I wanted a little bit more than was in my contract. I just wasn’t going to show up for a normal paycheck to fight that guy. For me to come up and show that up on short notice and fight that guy, you know, the way I fight guys, I redline it every time I fight. So, when I fight, you know you’re getting a Ferrari that’s coming forward, high octane, high energy, and he’s coming to fight and bring the fight. So, if I want to fight at my best, I need a full training camp. So, that fight was never gonna happen unless the UFC was gonna pay for it to happen.”