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Kamaru Usman: Colby Covington made ‘huge mistake’ in turning down Leon Edwards fight

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“I think the best way for you to solidify your title shot is to go out there and fight”.

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UFC 258: Media Day Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Kamaru Usman has put Colby Covington on blast for turning down a short notice fight against Leon Edwards at UFC Vegas 21, claiming that ‘Chaos’ made a ‘huge mistake’ in rejecting the UFC’s offer.

Covington was offered to fight Edwards after Khamzat Chimaev pulled out of their March 13 headliner due to COVID-related complications, but the former interim welterweight champion has opted instead to sit on the sidelines and wait for a title shot.

“Leon Scott hasn’t earned anything, boys. I’m in the Colby Covington Incorporated championship business, I’m not in the Leon Scott charity business,” Covington told Submission Radio earlier this month.

Usman, who beat Covington via fifth-round TKO in the UFC 245 main event to retain his welterweight title, believes Covington may have missed out on the chance to solidify himself as the next title challenger.

“I think he made a huge mistake, a tremendous mistake,” Usman told MMA Junkie. “Who turns down a paycheck? He turned down a paycheck. That’s horrible. You can’t do that. I mean, maybe he’s not hurting for money. But you can’t turn down a paycheck. Then on top of it, you turned down a chance to really remind the fans.

‘I understand, you’ve got to win. But that’s one win in how long? (Tyron) Woodley’s coming off a two-fight, three-fight skid. It’s a tough one to basically say, ‘Oh, all right, you’ve got one win. You’re back in.’ For a guy that’s coming off a two, three-fight skid, that was a tough one.”

Usman also believes Covington is in no position to be making demands given that he isn’t exactly in the UFC’s good books.

“For you to sit here and demand, ‘Oh, yeah, I’ve done enough. I demand a shot’ … First of all, you weren’t (the UFC’s) favorite in the first place,” Usman said. “You’re not. So you can’t sit here (and say that). It’s not that you’re selling mad pay-per-per views. You don’t really do that, as well. So for you to sit here and demand something like that, I think it’s ridiculous. I think the best way for you to solidify your title shot is to go out there and fight.

“And what better way than to knock off the No. 3 (ranked) guy? He’s on his way up. He’s making the claim to the throne that he deserves that shot. What better way than to knock him off? He failed to do that and I think he made a tremendous mistake.”

Usman is angling for a rematch with Jorge Masvidal whom he beat via unanimous decision at UFC 251 while Covington could potentially go on to fight Gilbert Burns in a title eliminator. Burns lost to Usman this past month at UFC 258, suffering a third-round TKO stoppage.