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By the time Colby Covington walks away from mixed martial arts, he intends to be a world champion in two UFC weight divisions. 

If he is to achieve that goal the brash Covington, who takes on Leon Edwards in this weekend’s UFC 296 main event in Las Vegas, must first become the first fighter in almost nine years to defeat the reigning 170-pound champion — but after that, Covington says that he plans on affixing his crosshairs to the man who holds the belt at 185, Sean Strickland.

“He’s pretending to be everything he wishes I was,” Covington said of Strickland to CODE Sports, as noted by MMA Fighting.

“I’d love to slap Sean Strickland around. He’s just a pathetic excuse of a human being, the guy has literally no fricking IQ. The guy’s so f*cking stupid. The things he says, he needs to get his mouth wired shut and I’m the guy to do it. The UFC knows I’m the one that can end these guys that hate the company and they hate the world, so I would love to fight Sean Strickland.”

Strickland, who has emerged as one of the UFC’s more colourful characters in 2023, was the source of a seismic upset in mixed martial arts earlier this year when he comprehensively outpointed former 185-pound titleholder Israel Adesanya across five rounds to claim his first world title.

Strickland is scheduled to fight top contender Dricus Du Plessis early next year, while several other contender jostle for position at the summit of the rankings. One possible name floated for Covington at 185 has been that of another former champion, Robert Whittaker — but ‘Chaos’ says that the “irrelevant” contender now doesn’t make sense for him.

“No, that ship has sailed,” Covington said. “Robert, he lost the title and then he got beat in a contender fight so he’s just not relevant anymore, he doesn’t make sense for me. I’m the top of the division, I’m about to be welterweight champion of the world, so I only want the biggest and best fights the UFC has to offer and I know they wouldn’t even waste my time and waste their time to try and put that fight together.

“This is a business and they want to make money, so it’s all about making the biggest and best fights for the fans and for the UFC. Whatever the UFC says, they know I’m a yes man, I’m a company man, whatever they say, Colby Covington will agree on.”