After years of bad blood and back-and-forth over social media and in interviews, Edwards and Masvidal were finally scheduled to clash before the end of 2021. The pair were set to feature on a stacked UFC 269 card, headland by a lightweight title fight between Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier.
Just over a month away from the final pay-per-view of the year, news broke that Masvidal had withdrawn from his booking with “Rocky” due to injury. Canceled bouts and postponements are nothing new in MMA, but this one certainly would have hurt fans more than most.
In a recent interview with ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto, Edwards gave his reaction to “Gamebred” pulling out of their bout. When asked if he believes he’ll still eventually meet Masvidal inside the Octagon, the Englishman suggested there’s unlikely to be another logical opportunity for them to collide.
“I don’t believe (I’ll ever fight Masvidal now). I’m going up, he’s going that way [points down] you know, so, I can’t see when there’s going to be a time when the fight makes sense. I’m gonna keep winning, I’m going on to world championships and competing at a higher level. He’s declining. So, it’s gonna be difficult now for us to get into a position where the fight makes sense. But we’ll see.”
Despite that, Edwards admitted that if he becomes champion, there’s a chance he could favor a non-sensical matchup with Masvidal in order to settle their beef, which started backstage at a UFC Fight Night event in London, England. However, the Jamaican-born Brit sees little chance of that happening. In his mind, Masvidal will likely retire in 2022.
“It’s possible. Because like I say, that (London altercation) left a bad taste in my mouth, there’s bad blood there forever, you know, so it’s possible. We’ll see. I’m focusing on being a world champion, focusing on achieving my goal, you know. He’s doing what he’s doing. I feel he’ll probably retire as well. I reckon next year he’ll probably retire.”
Edwards Questions Legitimacy Of Masvidal’s Injury
While Masvidal ‘s withdrawal from UFC 269 has been put down to an injury sustained during his camp, fans, pundits, and even Edwards are none the wiser to the details and extent of the 37-year-old’s issue. In the same interaction with Okamoto, “Rocky” claimed Masvidal is a “fraud” and doubted the legitimacy of the Miami native’s injury.
“I haven’t heard nothing (about an injury). I haven’t heard nothing at all. I asked the UFC, because Hunter (Campbell) messaged Tim (Simpson) saying like, ‘What’s the injury.’ They said they can’t say. So, I haven’t heard nothing, even in the background there’s nothing been mentioned. Like I said, I believe he’s a fraud. He’s using whatever he’s trying to use to get out of fighting. He knows after he lose to me, where does he go? His stock has already fallen already. Another loss to me, again, he just keeps falling.”
With his aim of fitting three fights into 2021 falling through, Edwards will now turn his attention to the title shot he believes he’s done more than enough to deserve. Having seemingly turned down the chance to face a replacement fighter on December 11, “Rocky” is hoping to secure a meeting with Kamaru Usman early next year.
Do you think Leon Edwards should be the next challenger to Kamaru Usman’s welterweight reign?