Gilbert Burns takes high road on Colby Covington being named UFC welterweight No. 1 contender

Gilbert Burns doubts Colby Covington is truly next in line for a title shot.

Covington (17-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) weighed in as a backup for the UFC 286 headliner between welterweight champion Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman, but he wasn’t ultimately needed.

After Edwards retained his title against Usman, UFC president Dana White said Covington is the No. 1 contender, but Burns (20-5 MMA, 13-5 UFC) doesn’t see it happening. “Durinho” cites inactivity as one of the main reasons, as Covington hasn’t competed since a lopsided win over Jorge Masvidal last March.

“I don’t (see it happening), because – it’s very hard to say,” Burns said in an interview with The AllStar. “I took an approach from a couple of years that I don’t want to push no one down to put my name out there. You know, I think a lot of guys deserve a chance. I don’t think Colby is one of them. The guy’s been out for so long. He’s very smart, because March 5 made one year that he wasn’t competing. Last competition was a year ago.

“UFC supposed to take this guy out of the ranks, but now he kind of – he’s very, very smart to make that decision. I don’t know if he ask or the UFC ask him to be a backup because boom, now they don’t take him out of the ranks and then he’s right there, you know? So I don’t think he deserves, but who am I to judge? Look, so guy’s the No. 2 contender right now. But I don’t think Leon and his team, you know his management, should do that.”

Edwards, too, doesn’t see Covington as deserving. Instead the champion has set his sights on a potential grudge match with Masvidal (35-16 MMA, 12-9 UFC), who meets Burns in the UFC 287 co-main event on April 8.

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie