Who Is Leon Edwards Interested In Fighting Next?
With several contenders waiting to get their shot, the UFC’s welterweight division is looking for its next big star. Leon Edwards believes he is ready for a title shot, given recent circumstances.
Edwards (18-3) was supposed to face former UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley at UFC London in March. When the UFC was trying to move the event to the United States, travel restrictions forced him out of the bout. Eventually, the card was postponed. Now, Edwards believes he is in a good spot to leapfrog ahead of the other contenders in the UFC’s welterweight rankings.
Initially, Kamaru Usman was going to defend the UFC Welterweight Title against Gilbert Burns at UFC 251, who beat Woodley inside the UFC’s APEX Center. After testing positive for COVID-19, Burns was out of the bout. Edwards ended up telling MMA Junkie he was offered a fight but couldn’t compete due to a lack of resources due to the pandemic. Jorge Masvidal ended up taking his place and will now fight under just a week’s notice.
After UFC 251, Edwards wants to fight for the title, regardless of who is champion.
“We both lost opportunities to coronavirus,” Edwards stated regarding Burns. “For me, I couldn’t travel because of coronavirus and that’s the only reason (Burns) got to fight Woodley. Same as the title shot: I couldn’t travel because of coronavirus and they offered me a title shot, so we both lost opportunities to the same thing. So I can’t see why they would look over me when I’ve got the most wins in the division (compared) to the champion.”
Making his MMA debut in 2011, Edwards made his UFC debut in 2014. He started 2-2 with the promotion, losing to Usman in 2015. After the loss, he has gone on an eight-fight win streak. In his last three bouts, Edwards has decision wins over Donald Cerrone, Gunnar Nelson, and Rafael dos Santos.
Ranked fourth in the UFC’s welterweight rankings, Edwards wants to stay as active as possible. That is especially true since his last fight against dos Anjos was in July 2019. If he has to choose between a title and competing against other contenders, which path will he take?
“If it’s a long time waiting – like (the) end of the year, or next year – then I’d rather compete,” Edwards went on to say. “My last fight was in July when I fought RDA, so that’s almost a year. So I would like to compete and stay active.”
UFC 251 takes place on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.