UFC president Dana White has revealed what Leon Edwards has to do in order to earn a shot at Kamaru Usman‘s welterweight title.
Leon Edwards is currently riding a 10-fight unbeaten streak that includes victories over former 155-pound champion Rafael dos Anjos, Gunnar Nelson, Vicente Luque and, most recently, Stockton’s own Nate Diaz. But despite a comfortable win on the scorecards against Diaz at UFC 263, the performance wasn’t enough to earn a championship opportunity according to White.
In the UFC’s first non-main event and non-title five-round fight, Edwards went toe-to-toe with Diaz for 25 minutes in front of a sold-out Gila River Arena crowd in Glendale. Even after dominating the majority of the fight, a final minute flurry from Diaz was enough to plant some doubt over the Englishman’s title credentials in the minds of White, Colby Covington, and Gilbert Burns.
Despite Leon Edwards stating that he’s planning on waiting for a title shot, Dana White has suggested his best route to UFC gold is to remain active and not sit out. In an interview with MMA Junkie’s John Morgan, White reminded “Rocky” that a lot can happen while a fighter stays on the sideline.
“It’s never a good idea to sit around and wait: lots of bad things have happened to guys that have sat around and (waited). This sport, just like life, there are no guarantees. There are no guarantees in life, man. You gotta get in there, you gotta fight your ass off, you gotta stay relevant, and you gotta make people be chomping at the bit saying, ‘All right, Leon’s getting screwed now. This guy should be getting this title fight.’ You want the fans screaming for you to be the next guy to get that shot. And yeah, with the bad luck that that poor kid has had, he should stay as active as he possibly can.”
But despite suggesting that Edwards must remain active before he meets “The Nigerian Nightmare” inside the Octagon, White is in favor of Colby Covington, who has fought just once since his title fight defeat to Usman in 2019, fighting for the belt again.
And while White seemingly tries to book a fight between Edwards and Jorge Masvidal, he’ll be looking to convince the welterweight champ that a rematch with “Chaos” should be his next defense.
Usman has made it clear that he doesn’t believe the controversial 33-year-old has done enough to earn a second crack at his 170-pound gold. And with a blockbuster matchup between Gilbert Burns and perennial contender Stephen Thompson set for UFC 264 this weekend, yet another strong option could join Edwards in the queue for a place opposite Usman inside the cage.
Do you think Leon Edwards is more deserving of a title shot than Colby Covington?