- Leon Edwards headlines the UFC Fight Night 171 event in London’s 02 Arena on March 21. He takes on Tyron Woodley in a welterweight fight.
- Edwards told Business Insider this week that, should he win, then he will be campaigning for an immediate title shot.
- The current champion, Kamaru Usman, defends the belt against Jorge Masvidal in Las Vegas this summer. Both fighters have a history with Edwards.
- Usman is the last man to beat Edwards in the Octagon, while Masvidal appeared to throw punches at him backstage at a UFC London event last year. Edwards wants revenge.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
LONDON – One of Britain’s top fighters has vowed to punch Jorge Masvidal next time he sees him – in the streets, or in the UFC. “We just don’t like each other,” Leon Edwards told Business Insider this week.
Edwards, the No.4 ranked welterweight in premier MMA firm UFC, has been in bruising form for four years. It will not be long before he comes face-to-face with Masvidal, who is ranked third.
The pair had a viral backstage quarrel at last year’s UFC show in London. Masvidal had just beaten Darren Till in style, was speaking to media backstage, but cut his interview short to suddenly throw punches at Edwards. Masvidal had previously told Business Insider that the confrontation was caused because Edwards was “talking wild.”
Edwards told us he has not seen Masvidal since that brawl because, he says, the UFC has been keeping the pair apart. But he wants to exact revenge as soon as he sees him again. “It’s just one of those things,” he said.
“I haven’t seen him since. They have kept us apart. I’ll be getting revenge next time I see him. The fight will happen – in the street, or the Octagon.”
Business Insider said if it was in the Octagon, Edwards would at least get paid for the fight. He said he knew, but gestured as if to say it could be a greater feeling to do it in the streets regardless. He then laughed. “It’s one of them things,” he said. “I don’t like him. He don’t like me.”
Masvidal’s win over Till and his punch-up with Edwards backstage sparked a highlight-reel run in 2019. He knocked out Ben Askren out in a matter of seconds in the summer, before beating Nate Diaz to win the “Baddest Mother F—–” in the game belt later in the year.
The UFC president Dana White told The Jim Rome Show this week that Masvidal will now fight Kamaru Usman for the welterweight championship in Las Vegas, likely at UFC 252 when International Fight Week is held in the city in early July.
Edwards could fight the winner but he must first overcome Woodley, a fight which presents its own challenges.
Woodley could be Edwards’ ninth win in a row
Edwards has racked up eight wins since his decision loss to Usman in 2015. That run includes victories over Donald Cerrone, Gunnar Nelson, and, most recently, Rafael dos Anjos.
Edwards predicts it will be nine wins in a row after he beats Woodley at the UFC London show at the 02 Arena on March 21, an event he is urging fans to buy tickets for, as, he says, it will be his last before waiting out for that welterweight title shot against the current champion Usman, or Usman’s July opponent Masvidal.
“I got confidence in my training and preparation,” Edwards said. “I know I’m one of the best in grappling, though I’ve not shown it as much as I’ve wanted to.
“In this fight, Woodley will come out aggressive, push the wrestling a bit, use overhands. It’s going to be a good fight to answer questions. Can I wrestle? Grapple? Last five [rounds] with grappling involved? I’m happy to answer questions in this fight.”
Edwards’ post-fight routine includes barbecue chicken pizza, a few beers, and chilled conversation with his friends and family. It is a routine he will likely have after he fights in March.
It is in this moment, should he be savouring the jubilant feeling of triumph, when he might envisage what could be next. Attention in the welterweight division would turn to the July title fight between Usman and Masvidal, two men Edwards has history with.
So who would he rather see win in that fight, Usman, who is the last man to beat him in the Octagon, or Masvidal, who appeared to lay hands on him backstage, last year?
“I’d probably prefer Usman as he’s the last to beat me,” Edwards said. “If I then beat him, I could fight Masvidal for the belt.
“Both have a storyline. Masvidal … from what happened in London [but] Usman is the last guy to beat me. Both are great storylines to sell to pay-per-view.”
Edwards and Woodley headline the UFC: London event on March 21.
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