Covington (17-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) challenges welterweight champion Edwards (20-3 MMA, 12-2 UFC) in the UFC 296 headliner on Dec. 16 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Although Edwards scored two-straight title wins over one of the strongest grapplers in the division in Kamaru Usman, Cormier thinks Covington’s pace and relentlessness could pose problems for the champion.
“Leon Edwards’ improvements have been so drastic and so vast that it’s hard to imagine a time where he couldn’t have wrestled or he would get taken down over and over again,” Cormier said on his YouTube channel.
“His jump between that first Usman fight to the second fight was really, really impressive. But then my question becomes this, guys: It’s one thing to fight a wrestler. It’s another thing to fight a wrestler like Colby Covington.”
Cormier praised Covington for having as much success as he’s had in MMA, without necessarily having natural physical gifts to aid him.
“Colby Covington, love him or hate him, you have to respect that he is a tremendous competitor,” Cormier said. “He is one of the hardest working guys you’ll ever meet, and if he’s not one of the hardest working guys that you’ve ever met, you know some really hard working people because for Covington to have the career that he has had, it really is amazing.
“He’s not the fastest, he’s not the strongest, he’s not the biggest. But we’re talking about a guy that became a multiple time NCAA All-American. We’re talking about a guy that fought for the UFC championship two times and is now fighting for it for a third time. We’re talking about a guy that was an interim champion.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 296.