There have been two fighters in the UFC‘s welterweight division that the promotion has struggled to get booked. One being the rising superstar, Khamzat Chimaev (9-0). Chimaev debuted back in the summer on Fight Island.
He’s fought three times so far with the UFC and he’s ran through all three opponents with no issues. The UFC has him on the fast track, but because of his lack of a ranking, there have been few top fighters who wanted to take the risk in fighting Chimaev.
On the other side of things there’s Leon Edwards (18-3). Edwards was the third ranked welterweight in the world on the heels of an eight fight winning streak. Edwards had been holding out for a top contender or a UFC title shot.
However, nothing ever materialized on either front. Due to his inactivity, he was recently removed from the UFC‘s welterweight rankings. Following the removal, Edwards tweeted that he wanted to fight and called out Chimaev. The promotion seemed to work quickly on this one.
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
UFC booking Chimaev – Edwards
I’m honestly a little shocked that this is the fight that the UFC ultimately landed on. I know that they really want to move Chimaev up the rankings fast, but it’s pretty unprecedented that an unranked fighter would move right into challenging someone in the top three.
However, this is a little of an unprecedented situation for the UFC. You have a top ranked fighter who can’t find a fight and you have a top ranked contender who no one wanted to fight. Now the two will clash in a headliner for the promotion on December 19th.
Given Edwards’ spot in the rankings, Chimaev will likely earn a title shot if he’s able to defeat Edwards. Meanwhile, if Edwards wins, he will finally get the shine that he’s felt he’s deserved given the mass popularity of Khamzat Chimaev. I for one am very excited for this matchup.