Chael Sonnen believes Colby Covington could become the biggest villain to become a UFC champion.
Following his unanimous decision win over bitter rival Jorge Masvidal in March 2022, Colby Covington seemed to disappear completely from the spotlight. No interviews, no public appearances. Every once in a while UFC president Dana White would mention that the promotion was working on getting ‘Chaos’ back in the Octagon, but that’s the last we’d hear about him. That was until UFC 286 when, to the surprise of everyone, Covington weighed in as the official backup for Edwards vs. Usman III.
Since then, all hell has seemingly broken loose with Colby Covington going on a rant after rant, attacking practically everyone under the sun. That includes calling Belal Muhammad a racist and physically threatening UFC play-by-play man John Anik. He even accused his employer of match-fixing, claiming the vacant heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Ciryl Gane was a work. Covington has done everything possible to establish himself as the promotion’s defacto villain and laying that role to perfection is what has likely earned ‘Chaos’ a UFC title opportunity from Dana White.
What Chael Sonnen wonders is, what happens if Covington actually wins?
“What would happen if Colby Covington won? Colby Covington, correct me if I’m wrong, would become the biggest villain to be UFC champion in the sport’s history,” Sonnen said during an episode of Beyond the Fight on YouTube. “Do you see it differently? And what would happen then? I mean, what would happen when Colby’s the champion of the world? Where is he gonna turn it up to then? What opportunities are going to present themselves? What media? What interviews? What spots?
“I’m just sayin’ that’s a very interesting thing to me. These two could not be more different as far as a character and a presence goes in that helm. Like, where I’m telling you Colby might be the biggest villain to be champion ever, Leon might be the nicest champion ever. He’d have to be considered. I’ve tried to rile Leon up. It just doesn’t work. That’s not the game that he’s playing and it is a very interesting what-if. What would Colby do?
Chael Sonnen is Not Counting Out Leon Edwards in Potential Showdown with Colby Covington
Of course, Chael Sonnen is not counting out Leon Edwards altogether. In his own words, the former three-time UFC title challenger knows that would be foolish, but he can’t help, but wonder what the 170-pound division looks like should Colby Covington have a UFC title wrapped around his waist before the end of the year.
“I’m not pretending that it’s a foregone conclusion that Colby’s going to go out there and beat Leon. I would be very foolish to say that. I’m just sharing for you, that’s the match, get it in the ring. Worry about everything else later. Get them in the ring. And then where do you go with the division with the matchmaking with the character development? Where do you go as an organization moving forward with the welterweights?”
In reality, Leon Edwards and Colby Covington would likely find themselves walking a similar path as a UFC champion. Matchups with Jorge Masvidal, Belal Muhammad, and Shavkat Rakhmonov all loom large for whoever walks out of the potential matchup. There is also the possibility of Kamaru Usman climbing back into contention. Especially in a situation where Covington is the division’s top dog.