During a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on “The MMA Hour,” Sonnen said Covington spoke with UFC president Dana White about receiving a crack at current 185-pound champion Israel Adesanya. But, White wasn’t open to it.
Covington has never competed outside of the 170-pound division in the UFC. However, White had said during a press conference in July that competing at 155 pounds or middleweight was potentially in the cards for Covington.
According to Sonnen, the fact that Covington had said in the past that he’d move to lightweight hurt his ability to receive an immediate shot at middleweight gold.
“Colby came out and he was talking to people, he was trying to find himself a fight and he said, ‘I’ll even go down to 155,’” Sonnen said via MMA Fighting. “Because he said those words, somewhere that planted a seed where Dana goes, ‘OK, he’s not on the big side of ‘70, he’s on the small side of ‘70.’ So when we brought Dana the suggestion of letting your No. 1 contender move up, use that golden ticket but cash it in at middleweight, Dana just wasn’t open to it. He went, ‘Ah, if I move him anywhere, I’m going to move him to ‘55.’
“That was legit. I had spoken to Colby. Colby wanted to go up, use that ticket if you will — which I know is figurative and not a real thing, but he is a No. 1 contender who couldn’t get a championship fight — and use it for Izzy. And it was to the point that Izzy was responding.”
Covington had long held the No. 1 spot at welterweight in the official UFC standings. But with Kamaru Usman dropping the belt to Leon Edwards last month, Covington fell to No. 2 behind “The Nigerian Nightmare.”
Sonnen Said Covington Was ‘All For’ Fighting Adesanya
Sonnen continued with his thoughts on Covington’s potential quest for the 185-pound championship. Considering Edwards and Usman will likely battle in a trilogy next for welterweight gold, Sonnen said it was a great opportunity for Covington to fight the winner of November’s middleweight title clash between Adesanya and Alex Pereira.
“Colby was all for it,” Sonnen said about fighting for the 185-pound belt.
“I don’t see anybody [else] positioning themselves for Izzy, largely because they’re all scared of him. Nobody’s positioned for Pereira because they don’t think that he can win. It’s a miss, man. The middleweights are really missing right now.
“It’s just one of these spots, I think that there’s some real misses at middleweight.”
Covington Said in November 2021 That He Wouldn’t Move Down to Lightweight
A few weeks after losing out on the welterweight belt to Usman for a second time, Covington spoke with MMA News’ James Lynch. And during the conversation, Chaos had confirmed that he had no interest in dropping from 170 to 155 pounds.
“I don’t wanna struggle,” Covington said via Sportskeeda.com. “When you cut that type of weight… it’s so unhealthy for your body, taking all that water out of your brain and just dehydrating your body like that, it’s just not good, man.
“So, I’m thinking about the long-run in my life. I’m not cheating, I’m not using steroids, I’m not cutting mass amounts of weight, things that just destroy your body and take years off your life. So, you know, I do it the right way. I just show up and fight at my natural weight class that I weigh.”