A few months ago, the UFC announced that Leon Edwards would face Jorge Masvidal in a welterweight grudge match. Technically, the pair have never fought inside the octagon.
However, several years back Masvidal had punched Edwards in the face backstage at a UFC event in London. For obvious reasons, the pair have had issues ever since.
This culminated in a scheduled fight which was set for December 11th, but it sadly got canceled. Masvidal claimed he was injured in training, but Edwards responded with a tweet.
“I’m disappointed but honestly I knew this fraud didn’t want to fight me anyway. He was just a stop off on the way to the title. The goal remains the same. Much needed family time now. Usman, I will see you soon.”
Since then, he has stated that he never sees the future prospect of fighting Masvidal in the future and this may a fair prediction.
The reason for this is that Masvidal has now turned 37 and is probably in the final few years of his career. At the same time, Masvidal has now faced Usman twice for the welterweight title and has failed in both attempts.
Leon Edwards looks towards a title match with Kamaru Usman
However, Edwards has other plans and realistically may get a title shot at some point. There are a few obstacles in his way though which could cause problems.
In short, Edwards is ranked third in the welterweight rankings and sits behind Gilbert Burns and Colby Covington. You may think they would have first pickings to fight Usman, but both have fought him a combined three times, losing each time.
Edwards has actually fought Usman back in 2015 where he lost to a unanimous decision. However, since then he has gone on an impressive 9 fight win streak in the UFC, defeating the likes of Vicente Luque, Donald Cerrone, and Gunnar Nelson in the process.
Having said this, there are two key problems that may go against him.
The first is his style. Unlike Covington and Masvidal, he’s not a character and doesn’t have any gimmicks about his personality. Whilst this is admirable in many ways, it also goes against the way in which the fight business works.
Furthermore, Edwards’ fighting style has also been called boring by multiple pundits and fans.
Often, Edwards will wrestle and slowly grind down his opponents, often winning by unanimous decision. It’s fair to say that he’s an accomplished grappler and has a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as well.
There’s nothing wrong with this but it’s not as exciting as being a knockout artist or a submission hunter like Gilbert Burns.
The rise of Chimaev could pose a threat to Edwards title dreams
There’s then the second problem which is the rapid rise of Khamzat Chimaev. Ironically, the pair were meant to meet in 2020 but this was canceled when Chimaev got Covid.
Since then, Chimaev has returned and continues to impress the likes of Dana White with his eye catching style and quick finishes.
This poses a major problem for Leon Edwards. You could argue that he clearly deserves his title shot, but the timing of Chimaev’s run has not helped him at all.
Potentially, he could rest for a while whilst Chimaev could realistically get his own title shot if he beat a top 10 welterweight which could theoretically happen.
Overall, it will be interesting to see how this all pans out. As per usual, the UFC is filled with backstage politics and even though Leon Edwards is letting his fists do the talking, he’s still in a weird limbo state where he may not get a title shot anytime soon.
Time will tell, and his style could genuinely threaten Kamaru Usman’s belt, but until then UFC fans may have to wait longer to see this match up.