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After nearly two years out of the cage, Leon Edwards says that Colby Covington will be out of his depth when they meet in the cage in the UFC 296 main event in Las Vegas next week.

UFC welterweight champion Edwards defends both his title and his 12-fight, 8-year unbeaten run in the T-Mobile Arena on December 16 against an opponent who has spent considerable time of the sidelines since his last action in the cage against Jorge Masvidal in March 2022. And when the cage door shuts, Edwards says Covington will understand real fast that he is in over his head.

“This is his fourth title shot,” Edwards said of his opponent to UFC Europe, as noted by MMA Fighting. “As far as what’s on the line for me, how long it took me to get it, so I feel like we’ve both got a lot to prove in there. So, I am 100 percent focused for the best Colby. I know he’s been out for almost two years come December.

“But, I just can’t see what he goes in there and does. I’ve been the active one. I’m the younger one. He hasn’t beat no one under the age of 35, 36 since I don’t know. If you’re judging his wins off Robbie [Lawler], [Tyron] Woodley, and Masvidal, he’s in for a total shock what’s going to happen on fight night.”

Of course, a fight against Covington brings with it another element: his unapologetic brand of trash-talk. But Edwards says is more than capable of tuning that out.

“He’s always playing a character, and some of the sh*t he’s coming out and saying just doesn’t make sense to me,” Edwards explained. “He’s like, ‘I’ll come back for the war that happened in America.’ I was like, ‘Mate, I don’t even know what you’re on about.’

“I think that guy is a clown. But I am focused on going out there, taking him out, defending my belt for a second time, just carrying on my journey. He’s just another guy that’s in my way, and I’m going to take him out.”