In a matchup over two years in the making, Edwards and Masvidal will finally enter the Octagon together at the final UFC pay-per-view of 2021. The Englishman was last in action at UFC 263 in June. Despite extending his unbeatens streak to 10 with a unanimous decision victory over Nate Diaz, “Rocky” still found himself behind Colby Covington in the queue for a title shot, and was encouraged to remain active by UFC President Dana White.
Masvidal, meanwhile, will be entering the December 11 clash off the back of consecutive championship defeats to current welterweight king Kamaru Usman. After being controlled for five rounds in Abu Dhabi last Summer, “Gamebred” had a second crack at dethroning “The Nigerian Nightmare” at UFC 261 in April. Despite having a full camp, the Miami native was brutally knocked out in the second round. Masvidal will now look to move one step closer to a trilogy against Usman with an impressive performance against Edwards.
Despite the likes of Daniel Cormier advising him to wait for the title shot many believe he deserves, Edwards is seemingly happy to net the biggest pay check of his career, and in the process, finally get his hands on Masvidal.
The pair’s rivalry began after a backstage altercation at a UFC Fight Night event in London in 2019. After being interrupted by Edwards during an interview, the former title challenger bust the Jamaican-born Brit open with a fast combination. Edwards, who recently claimed the promotion had to hide Masvidal and fly him out of the country to avoid payback, told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour that he can’t wait to finally face the opponent he says he’s been pushing to fight for nearly three years.
“For me, they came with the right figures. We went back-and-forth for about two weeks. I was just trying to get the right situation that obviously best for me and my team. We ended up getting it done, you know, so I am looking forward to finally getting my hands on him, you know, it’s been, like i said, it’s been almost three years. I’ve been pushing for this fight for three years, and I’m looking forward to it.”
“Rocky” admitted that he was surprised Masvidal didn’t run away from the bout. However, he claimed the 36-year-old did run from one stipulation; a five-round fight.
“I thought he would’ve went running to be fair. Last three years, all he did was make excuses. I asked the UFC for a five-round fight with him. I think he turned around and said he wants three rounds, so that’s the reason we’re at three rounds now. Either way, a fight’s a fight. Put me in there against him and we’ll see the outcome.
“I haven’t fought three rounds now for a long time Ariel, I’m a championship fighter. My last five fights were probably all five rounds, so, I am looking forward to doing the three. I’ll be able to sprint at three, so, I am looking forward to it.”
Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC 269, Leon Edwards or Jorge Masvidal?