Leon Edwards had a victorious homecoming at UFC 286 when he defeated longtime welterweight kingpin Kamaru Usman to retain the 170 pound belt. With that win he became the first British champion to defend his title, and a bona fide star in the U.K.
With those credentials, he expects the UFC to put a little weight behind his wants and desires moving forward — specifically when it comes to which welterweight contender he’ll face next. Following the event at the O2 Arena, UFC president Dana White declared Colby Covington the next challenger for the belt. Leon made it clear he wasn’t interested.
“I’m the king now, I’ve earned my way,” he said, justifying the hard pass. “I feel like I should decide who’s next, so yeah.”
Who would “Rocky” like to face instead? Another hard-nosed fighter that’s been forced to make their own way like Belal Muhammad? No! Instead, Edwards would like to seek revenge against Jorge Masvidal over an infamous 2019 backstage punch-up where “Gamebred” fed Leon a ‘three piece and soda.’
“Yeah. I just don’t like him. So I feel like that’s one I need to get back,” Edwards said during the UFC 286 post-fight press conference. “There’s a storyline there to tell. So yeah, if he gets the job done [against Gilbert Burns], I’ll have a look. I’ll consider it. If he begs me, then I might let him slide in here.”
Masvidal will face Gilbert Burns at UFC 287 on April 8th and is looking to snap a three fight losing streak. Granted, those losses are to Kamaru Usman twice and Colby Covington, so it’s not like he’s losing to scrubs. Still, it would make giving him a title shot somewhat controversial, especially after declaring Covington doesn’t deserve one.
That doesn’t matter to Edwards, though. For him, it’s about the narrative surrounding the fight.
Hot take: Jorge Masvidal owes all his success to Leon Edwards. Without that confrontation backstage at UFC London, Masvidal wouldnt be nearly as big as he is today. Im just sayin…. pic.twitter.com/CodktZ0dh8
— Uptown Funk (@Uptown_MMA) April 16, 2020
“I think there’s a storyline for that fight, right?” he suggested. “I feel the Colby fight, there’s literally no storyline. The guy sat out for a year and then slid into a title shot. It’s weird, you know?”
There’s no doubt a fight between Leon Edwards and Jorge Masvidal would generate a whole lot of money. The UFC clearly thinks Edwards vs. Covington would as well. It just doesn’t come with a chance for “Rocky” to avenge the assault he suffered at the hands of Masvidal four years ago.
Who do you want to see Edwards defend his title against next, Maniacs?