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Former two-weight UFC world champion Daniel Cormier says that Colby Covington has made a misstep in his apparent hesitancy to fight Ian Machado Garry.

Unbeaten Irishman Garry has vocally campaigned for a summer bout with Covington since moments after his split decision win over Geoff Neal in February, proposing a high profile showdown on the main card of Conor McGregor’s return to the Octagon in June’s UFC 303.

But despite initially appearing open to the contest, Covington has more recently appeared to distance himself from the hypothetical bout — saying that it doesn’t make sense for him to fight the seventh-ranked fighter, despite him being one of the division’s rising title contenders.

And according to Cormier, Covington should re-examine his approach to the next step of his career.

“Colby Covington said that he feels like Belal Muhammad is sitting on his ranking and doesn’t deserve a title fight,” Cormier said of Covington, who has been defeated in three undisputed world title fights in succession, on his YouTube channel, as noted by MMA Junkie. Muhammad, by comparison, has recently been announced as Leon Edwards’ next title challenger at 170-pounds.

“I love Colby. I think Colby’s cool. I think he’s a good dude. I think he’s fine. But come on, Colby. Come on, brother. Colby can’t say or try to determine who gets a title fight right now because of the way he lost to Leon Edwards and the way he fought. It seems like he’s unwilling to fight Ian Garry.

“I think he should maybe step back and just not really say much at all until another fight comes his way. I don’t know what the hesitance is to fighting Ian Garry for Colby Covington. I don’t know if he just doesn’t want to fight back in the rankings. But I think he needs to recognise that in this situation, that’s kind of what he’s going to get right now because of the way that he lost that last fight. He didn’t fight well.”

Garry, meanwhile, has suggested that he has been offered a range of fighters, including Michael ‘Venom’ Page and Sean Brady, for his next fight. Covington has floated the idea of fighting former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira.