The UFC’s decision to have Colby Covington as the next welterweight title challenger has not been well-received by the MMA community. Many fighters and fans have criticized the move, pointing out that Belal Muhammad is the deserving second challenger to Leon Edwards’ reign. Curtis Blaydes, a heavyweight contender, shared his take on the matter during a recent interview with LowKick MMA.
Blaydes believes that Covington hasn’t earned the title shot and that Muhammad should be the next in line. However, if it’s not given to Muhammad, Blaydes thinks that Gilbert Burns is the next deserving contender if he emerges victorious over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 287 next month.
Blaydes also noted that the UFC is not a meritocracy, and often overlooks deserving contenders for more outspoken and controversial fighters like Covington. He stated that the UFC is more concerned with who can bring in the most revenue rather than who has truly earned the title shot. This has been a contentious issue in the MMA community, as many fighters who have worked hard to climb the ranks feel like they are being passed over for fighters who have more star power or create more controversy.
Blaydes acknowledged that the UFC is not a meritocracy and often overlooks deserving contenders for more controversial fighters like Covington, who generates a lot of buzz and can put “asses in seats.” However, he still believes that Muhammad or Burns, if he beats Masvidal, should be next in line for the title shot.
Blaydes himself could also be in a similar position to Muhammad soon if he successfully defeats Sergei Pavlovich next month at UFC Vegas 71. He would be on a four-fight winning streak that could put him in line for a shot at the heavyweight title. However, the signs point towards Jon Jones’ first defense coming opposite the returning Stipe Miocic, who hasn’t entered the cage since suffering a knockout loss to Francis Ngannou in 2021.
In summary, Blaydes believes that Covington hasn’t earned the title shot, and that Muhammad or Burns should be next in line for the welterweight title shot. He also acknowledges that the UFC doesn’t always base their decisions on merit and instead favors fighters who generate a lot of buzz.
Blaydes himself could find himself in a similar position to Muhammad soon enough. If he successfully defeats Sergei Pavlovich next month at UFC Vegas 71, he’ll be on a four-fight winning streak that would seemingly put him in line for a shot at gold. However, all signs point towards Jon Jones’ first defense coming opposite the returning Stipe Miocic, who hasn’t entered the cage since suffering a knockout loss to Francis Ngannou in 2021. While it’s frustrating for fighters like Blaydes and Muhammad to see someone like Covington get another shot at the title, it’s important to remember that the UFC is a business, and they have to make decisions that will bring in the most revenue. It’s up to the fighters to continue to work hard and make a name for themselves in the sport, in the hopes that they will eventually get the recognition they deserve.