Khamzat Chimaev was desperate for an opponent and it looks like the UFC made it happen. The Chechen will step up in competition as he faces the number 3 ranked welterweight Leon Edwards on December 19.
The news was broken by ESPN’s Ariel Helwani and confirmed by Dana White yesterday.
“Leon Edwards x Khamzat Chimaev is a done deal, sources say. Main event. 170. Dec. 19. Edwards is back in the rankings, too. No. 3. Dana White first revealed that they came to terms with both guys earlier today on @jimrome.”
Leon Edwards x Khamzat Chimaev is a done deal, sources say. Main event. 170. Dec. 19.
Edwards is back in the rankings, too. No. 3.
Dana White first revealed that they came to terms with both guys earlier today on @jimrome.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 23, 2020
After his amazing debut in the UFC with 3 wins and 3 finishes, Khamzat Chimaev (8-0) was the UFC’s newest attraction. The Chechen then went on to call out multiple fighters at welterweight and middleweight, but he was still without an opponent. He claimed that many fighters including Stephen Thompson and Chris Weidman declined to fight him. With Edwards, Chimaev gets his wish granted and some more. This would be a huge step up in competition and a win could push Chimaev into superstardom.
Leon Edwards (18-3) on the other hand is in a very different dynamic. “Rocky” was recently removed from the UFC rankings due to inactivity. His last outing was against Raphael Dos Anjos in July 2019. The London native dominated Dos Anjos to earn himself a unanimous decision victory. Edwards has since been scheduled to fight Tyron Woodley but the fight was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Edwards recently came out to talk about his relationship with the UFC and to call out Khamzat Chimaev after he learned that he was removed from the rankings.
Before this prolonged hiatus, Edwards was on an 8 fight winning streak and well on this way to a title shot. A win against Chimaev would certainly earn him some fans but not much boost in the rankings. This is a high-risk low reward situation for Edwards because Chimaev is hungry and extremely dangerous.