Nine wins and seven years later, “Rocky” will rematch Kamaru Usman, and it will be for the welterweight title.
Dana White gives the go ahead
On Thursday, Dana White confirmed to TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter that No. 3 ranked Edwards will be next for the welterweight strap.
“100%,” White said. “That kid’s had a rough run. He deserves it. If you look at it, Colby lost to (Usman) twice, Gilbert lost, Leon’s next. He’s number three.”
When I asked if Leon Edwards is next in line to fight for the welterweight championship, Dana White's reply was "100%"
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) January 13, 2022
Leon Edwards and Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
It has been a very rough two years for the fighter from Birmingham, England. It all started after signing his brand new UFC contract in January 2020. He was supposed to headline his own card for the second time in his UFC across from former UFC welterweight Tyron Woodley in his hometown of London. But, unfortunately, the fight card got canceled because of COVID, and he was stranded in England.
There were rumors of the UFC offering him a title fight that would take place on ‘Fight Island,’ but he turned down the opportunity due to lack of training. After 425 days of inactivity, he was pulled from the welterweight top 15 rankings. Being out of the rankings was short-lived as he was booked with hot prospect Khamzat Chimaev in November of 2020. The fight would end up being booked three times, but it never took place because both fighters contracted COVID, and then Chimaev suffered lingering effects.
Trying to stay active, Edwards took a fight with Belal Muhammad, who was ranked No. 13 at the time. ‘Rocky’ accidentally poked Muhammad in the eye, and the fight was ruled a no-contest. Edwards’ horrible luck just continued to pile.
Edwards faced Nate Diaz at UFC 263 in his biggest fight to date. He dominated Diaz for 24 minutes, only for Diaz to land a punch that wobbled Edwards at the end of the fight. Edwards won the fight; however, the story wasn’t how good he looked after a near two-year layoff; it was how Diaz almost won the fight.
Edwards was supposed to end the year fighting his rival Jorge Masvidal, who in 2019 hit him backstage in London, prompting the ‘3 piece and a soda’ saying. A month before the fight, Masvidal pulled out of the fight.
While it must have sucked to have another fight fall through for Edwards, the light at the end of the tunnel is now almost in reach as he will fight for the title because of the UFC 269 fight cancelation.
There is no date reported for Usman vs. Edwards II; however, May or June seems likely with all of the champions being booked.