Michael Bisping names opponent who could put Colby Covington back into UFC title picture

Michael Bisping thinks Colby Covington’s title hopes may not be entirely over.

Covington (17-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) fell short in his third title opportunity when he lost a lackluster unanimous decision to welterweight champion Leon Edwards at UFC 296 in December.

Covington, 35, didn’t put on his best showing against Edwards. With Edwards expected to run things back with Belal Muhammad for his next title defense, Bisping thinks Covington could end up drawing undefeated Shavkat Rakhmonov (18-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) next – a fight he sees potentially have title implications.

“If they were to make this fight, there’s a big opportunity there,” Bisping said on his YouTube channel. “Colby has had his title shots, OK, and I don’t think he’s going to get another one. But this will blow your mind: If he beats Shavkat Rakhmonov … I’m not saying he gets a title fight, but if he beats Shavkat Rakhmonov, there’s an argument there.

“I’m not saying I agree with it, but it if he was to beat Shavkat Rakhmonov, guess what? All of a sudden, you’re back in the discussion, baby – right? He would be. If you want to become the man, you’ve got to beat the man. But would he beat Shavkat? I very much doubt it. Now here’s the real question for Colby Covington: If this fight takes place, does he still have it? Does the fire still burn?”

Covington dismissed the idea of facing Rakhmonov next during the UFC 296 post-fight news conference. Instead, the former interim champion turned his attention to Stephen Thompson, who was submitted by Rakhmonov at UFC 296.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie