Leon Edwards is getting his long-awaited shot at Kamaru Usman for the UFC welterweight championship.
Aaron Bronsteter of TSN Sports recently spoke with UFC president Dana White, who confirmed the No. 3 ranked contender was ‘100 percent’ next in line for the champion.
“That kid’s had a rough run,” said White. “He deserves it. If you look at it, Colby [Covington] lost to [Usman] twice, Gilbert [Burns] lost, Leon’s next. He’s number three.”
White did not provide details regarding a prospective date for the fight. However, it is likely to happen sometime during the second quarter of the year. Usman broke his right hand before his rematch against Colby Covington at UFC 268 and has not recuperated from said injury yet.
Usman and Edwards have fought before over six years ago at UFC on FOX 17, where the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ defeated ‘Rocky’ via unanimous decision. Usman went on a seven-fight win streak and earned a championship opportunity against then-champion Tyron Woodley at UFC 235. The 34-year-old dominated Woodley and won the belt, which has been successfully defended five times against the aforementioned Covington (x2), Jorge Masvidal (x2) and Gilbert Burns in recent appearances.
The loss to Usman was the last time Edwards suffered defeat inside the Octagon. Since then, he went 8-0 against notable names such as Vicente Luque, Donald Cerrone and Rafael dos Anjos. Unfortunately, the Birmingham native had his career derailed for nearly two years because of a worldwide pandemic, numerous fight cancelations and a severe case of COVID-19. When it finally resumed, his return was marred after an accidental eye poke against Belal Muhammad at UFC Vegas 21 led to a No Contest.
Edwards still campaigned for a shot against Usman despite the outcome but did not receive it. Instead, he fought again and earned a unanimous decision over Nate Diaz at UFC 263 this past June. Edwards was then expected to settle a grudge with Masvidal in his next outing, but that was canceled after ‘Gamebred’ withdrew due to an injury. The 30-year-old opted to sit and wait for Usman, a tactic often met with mixed results. It worked this time and Edwards will now get his due.