Covalent functionalization is one of the most efficient ways to tune the properties of layered materials in a highly controlled manner. However, molecular chemisorption on semiconducting transition metal dichalcogenides remains a delicate task due to the inertness of their surface. Here we perform covalent modification of bulk and single layer molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) using chemical activation of diazonium salts. A high level of control over the grafting density and yield on MoS2 basal plane can be achieved by this approach. Using scanning probe microscopies and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy we prove the covalent functionalization of MoS2. This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry.