This week, Dana White reiterated that Leon Edwards (19-3, 1 NC) would be getting the next title shot in the UFC‘s welterweight division. Edwards is 9-0, 1 NC in his last ten fights and is clearly the next logical challenger for Kamaru Usman (20-1).
Usman was actually the last man to defeat Edwards inside the octagon. Currently, the UFC’s welterweight champion is nursing a hand injury that has kept him out of action since last November. Usman is just waiting to be cleared before the fight can get booked.
While Usman waits for doctors to give him the thumbs up, Leon Edwards sits on the sidelines. Edwards certainly doesn’t mind considering the fact that he’s been guaranteed the next UFC title shot. However, Edwards has been doing a lot more sitting than fighting over the past few years.
Starting in May of 2016, Edwards would win eight straight fights over the course of three years. That’s when everything started to get thrown off with Edwards’ career and that’s when we started to see long layoffs.
Edwards’ tough breaks in the UFC
It all started in March of 2020. Edwards was set to headline a Fight Night against former UFC champion Tyron Woodley. We were a week away from the fight taking place when things shut down due to Covid.
That fight was looked at as a title eliminator for Edwards. Between travel restrictions and a cloudy welterweight division with a lack of willing challengers, it wouldn’t be until December of 2020 when Edwards would have another fight booked against Khamzat Chimaev.
However, Covid ruined that fight first hitting Edwards than Chimaev. The UFC tried to book that fight three times. Finally, in March of 2021, Edwards took on Belal Muhammad and the fight ended in a No Contest.
He was quickly turned around and fought Nate Diaz at UFC 263 and won a decision. However, now it’s been almost a year again since we’ve seen Edwards. After going on an eight-fight winning streak from 2016-2019, we’ve only seen him twice in the last three years.
Fortunately for Edwards, he’s just now 3o years old so he’s still in his prime. However, one has to wonder if all the time will impact his chances when he fights the UFC champion for the second time. Maybe the opposite happens. Maybe the time off has allowed him to become sharper.
I’m not sure, but one thing is for sure, it’ll be a storyline to their fight whenever it takes place.