Despite being on a nine fight win streak (1 NC), Leon Edwards finds himself on the outside looking in yet again. Many thought his most recent win over Nate Diaz would get him that tile shot that has eluded him. Instead, the UFC opted for the Kamaru Usman versus Colby Covington rematch in November. Which has to be a frustrating reality considering Edwards last loss before this win streak was to the current champion Usman back in 2015. So with the title fight not an option right now, Leon Edwards has some decision making to do. Take UFC president Dana White’s advice and stay active? Or does he wait and see how things play out? There are pros and cons to both, so let’s take a look at a few realistic options.
1. Gilbert Burns
Gilbert Burns has had quite the rollercoaster ride for his last three fights. The first of those being a dominant five round performance over former champion Tyron Woodley. Following that he received a title fight against champion Kamaru Usman, a fight that he lost. Then in his most recent bout he was able to outlast former two time title challenger, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. Burns has taken to twitter recently looking for a fight to stay active and one of the fighters he mentioned was none other than Leon Edwards. This fight makes all the sense in the world. Both fighters are coming off wins in their last fight. In the official UFC welterweight rankings Burns is ranked number two, while Edwards is ranked number three. A win against Burns would most certainly make it hard to deny Edwards a title shot any longer.
2. Vicente Luque
Fresh off his first round submission of Michael Chiesa at UFC 265, Vicente Luque is hopeful that his next fight will be for the title. But with others like Edwards and Burns also wanting that, he may have to win one more fight to get that shot, and Leon Edwards might be the perfect dance partner. Similar to Gilbert Burns, both fighters are coming off wins, both ranked in the top 5. However, Luque recently expressed interest in possibly waiting for a tile fight. So if Edwards is looking to indeed fight again, he may have to look elsewhere.
3. Jorge Masvidal
When it comes to getting eyeballs on the screen, this would 100% attract the most. These two had an altercation backstage following Masvidal’s KO win over Darren Till in March of 2019. During Masvidal’s post-fight interview, Edwards said something to Masvidal that he did not appreciate. Masvidal showed his displeasure by hitting Edwards with the famous “three piece and a soda”. Following their altercation many fans thought the fight was a foregone conclusion, but it never came to fruition. Unlike the other two opponents mentioned, Masvidal is coming off of back to back losses to Kamaru Usman. That fact alone might sway Edwards away from taking that fight, but the UFC has done crazier things in the past.
Most would probably advise against this, especially since Dana White made it known that he believes Edwards should take another fight. And while most of the time waiting will not pay off in this sport, sometimes it does. It happened somewhat recently in this very division. After Tyron Woodley’s bout agains Johhny Hendricks was called off, Woodley decided to be patient. Instead of trying to get a different opponent, Woodley decided to take his chances and wait for a title shot and it paid off. Woodley took full advantage of that opportunity and quick, finishing Robbie Lawler with strikes in the first round to become the new champion. This is the riskiest option because it could end up being a big waste of time. But if he does hold out and it ends with him becoming the new UFC welterweight champion of the world, he’ll look like a genius.
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