Leon Edwards has announced that he will not participate in the next Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) London card in July as the 31-year-old welterweight fighter is looking to take some time off to heal from various injuries sustained in his recent fights.
The UFC is considering hosting a second fight night following Edwards’ victory over Kamaru Usman. UFC president, Dan White, has already decided on Edwards’ next opponent — Colby Covington. Fans eagerly anticipating what promises to be an explosive match between two of the best fighters in the division.
Upon receiving the news, Edwards was displeased as he had anticipated a match-up against American MMA fighter Jorge Masvidal instead and was not particularly keen on fighting Covington.
With Masvidal’s recent retirement from MMA, Covington will likely be Edwards’ next opponent. Despite this, Edwards has expressed doubt about Covington’s credentials as a title contender, citing his inactivity.
Edwards remains undecided on who his next opponent will be as he maintains there is currently no clear number-one contender in the welterweight division.
“Colby been uninjured, sitting on the sidelines, turning down fights for over a year. Nobody else has done that and earned a title shot from doing that. That’s the why not, I feel like if you truly believe you’re champion, you should fight all the guys that’s been offered to you, the Burns, the Khamzats,” he said.
Edwards prefers to return in October
The next crucial aspect to consider is the fight’s location, as it had been assumed that Edwards would headline the UFC event in London. Currently, plans have altered, and it remains to be seen where the fight will occur.
The UFC had initially planned to hold a fight night in London in July, with the highly anticipated Edwards vs Covington bout speculated to be the main event. During a recent interview with Sky Sports, however, Edwards elaborated that he intends to take his time to prepare for his next fight and won’t be rushing back into the ring.
Edwards also clarified that he has a different timeline for his return to the octagon. He has preferred to compete at the end of the year instead and is looking at other fight cards as potential options.
“For me, in last year. I fought times, I think, so I think for me, I’d like to fight towards the end of the year, Abu Dhabi would be great. And I think that would be a perfect time, and you know too, I think we’ve got a massive British population in the Emirates, that part of the world,” he said to Sky Sports. “I feel like there’ll be a lot of fans coming out to see me as well, so I thought that would be ideal… won’t be July because July is a Fight Night in London.”
Since his first meeting with Usman in 2015, Edwards has remained undefeated in the UFC. As the only UFC champion hailing from London, Edwards considers that he deserves to be featured on pay-per-view cards.
During the interview, Edwards expressed his view that British heavyweight fighter Tom Aspinall should be the headliner for the next UFC event in London.
Aspinall has recently emerged as a rising star in the heavyweight division, with an impressive record of 11-2 and three consecutive wins in the UFC.