Yesterday, we found out that the UFC headliner between Leon Edwards (18-3) and Khamzat Chimaev (9-0) is off. The headliner was scheduled to take place on March 13th. This is the third time that the fight has fallen through.
After the first two cancellations, the UFC made it clear that they wanted to keep that fight together. However, after this third cancellation, the promotion is moving on from this matchup for now. The promotion is still hoping to keep Edwards in the main event on March 13th.
Since the news broke yesterday, UFC match makers have been trying to get Edwards a new fight. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani said this morning that Edwards’ reps have said they are interested in only three fighters. Those three fighters are Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal, and Nate Diaz (20-12).
The UFC is currently working on booking Covington – Masvidal so the likelihood of one of them taking the fight is low. Given the status of all the other top contenders in the division, there isn’t a clear opponent for Edwards at this time.
Edwards took to Twitter this morning to vocalize who he wants to fight next. Edwards made it very clear that he wants to face Stockton’s Nate Diaz on March 13th.
Nate just dribbled for an hour about wanting to fight at 170 against winners… let’s see it then @NateDiaz209. 8 fight win streak and #3 in the world. Let’s go if you still think you're a real one https://t.co/PUaPfwtRPQ
— Leon 'Rocky' Edwards (@Leon_edwardsmma) February 12, 2021
Will the UFC make this fight?
In reality, there’s actually a high probability that the UFC attempts to make this fight. This week, Diaz came out and said that he wanted to fight Charles Oliveira or Dustin Poirier at 170 pounds. He said he’s only interested in fighting winners and he wants to fight at welterweight.
Well, Charles Oliveira said yesterday that he has no interest in fighting Diaz. It’s also been reported that the UFC is heading down the path of booking the trilogy between Poirier and Conor McGregor. That takes away both of the callouts for Nate Diaz.
That’s where Leon Edwards enters the equation perfectly. Edwards is on an eight-fight win streak and he’s currently ranked third in the welterweight division. If Diaz is interested in making his return at 170 pounds and against a winner, it doesn’t get much better than Leon Edwards.
Both of these top UFC fighters need a fight and neither one of them have a clear next opponent. The writing is on the wall to make this matchup. If this fight does get made, I would expect it to happen sooner than later. This will definitely be a situation to follow in the coming days.