It looks like Leon Edwards’ wait for a world title fight is coming to an end.
Edwards had long expected to fight for a world title. Now he’s reached the point where he’s unbeaten in 10 fights and yet another non-title fight has been booked, this time against nemesis Jorge Masvidal.
After Masvidal was forced to pull out of this fight due to a rib injury, Edwards was left without an opponent. Edwards insisted that he would not fight again unless he received a world title fight.
History has shown that sitting around waiting for a title fight can be very risky, especially for Edwards. Dana White warned the fighters against such actions, and at one point Edwards himself was among them.
However, in an interview with TSN this week, White relented and agreed that Edwards deserved a title shot and was Kamaru Usman’s next UFC welterweight title contender.
“100 percent,” White said when asked if Edwards would be next in line for Usman. This guy had a hard time. He deserved it. If you look at it, Colby lost twice (to Usman), Gilbert lost, Leon is next. He’s number three.”
White also hinted that one of the reasons for giving Edwards a title shot is his willingness to do what he said no one else wanted to do last year: step up and fight Khamzat Chimaev.
“We were in a matchmaking meeting on Tuesday and I was always like, ‘Nobody wants to fight him, nobody wants to fight him,’ White said. “Leon Edwards signed a deal to fight him and I think he was ranked third at the time. So I wanted to make it clear, publicly. He really wanted to fight him, signed the fight agreement and then Khamzat got COVID and that was it.
“I bring this topic up for a reason, because I said it and never did justice to this guy. He said yes, signed the fight agreement and was ready to fight.”
Leon Edwards first faced Kamaru Usman long before Usman became champion, losing via unanimous decision in December 2015. In his last fight, he defeated Nate Diaz at UFC 263, and Usman successfully defended his title in another rematch against Colby Covington at UFC 268. .