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Former UFC welterweight title challenger Colby Covington is of the opinion that a fight with Ian Machado Garry isn’t in his best interests.

Covington, who in December was defeated by lopsided unanimous decision by reigning welterweight champion Leon Edwards, has been the target of repeated callouts from unbeaten Irishman Machado Garry. He appeared open to the bout several weeks ago as he took to social media to issue a list of ‘stipulations’ that his rival must first undertake in order to make the fight a reality.

Since then, though, there has been little indication that Covington would accept the fight which Machado Garry had targeted for the undercard of Conor McGregor’s return to the Octagon at next month’s UFC 303 — and what’s more, Covington disputes assertions that the fight has even been offered to him.

“Now we know that he’s a liar, because the UFC, Hunter [Campbell], Dana, they haven’t talked to me about this fight, this fight has not been presented, he’s just lying and trying to get clickbait,” the 36-year-old told Las Vegas Raiders star Maxx Crosby on his podcast The Rush, as reported by Bloody Elbow.

Furthermore, Covington — who is ranked 4th at 170-pounds — says that looking backwards to the 7th-ranked Machado Garry does not make sense to him.

“I’d rather fight someone ahead of me and get back to a title fight, I want Leon, that’s who I want,” he said. “I want to show the world that I’m healthy and can beat anyone in the world, I’m the best welterweight in the world right now.”

Navigating a path back to Edwards would presumably be made easier should be fight and become the first man to beat Machado Garry but the American appears to have affixed a crosshair to the #2 ranked Belal Muhammad — a fighter who is also chasing a rematch with the champion.

“I love this company with all my heart they’ve changed my life, made me a multi-millionaire so I’m so thankful to them, so I’m going to let them decide but I don’t know, maybe this kid ‘Bayley Muhammad’ who’s been talking a lot,” he said.

“He’s up there in the rankings above me so I think if I beat that guy it gets me right back to a title fight. I could fight Joe Schmo off the street and I’m going to get the same paycheck and it’s going to be a high-level fight.”