UFC – Leon Edwards: I Would Smoke Jorge Masvidal
Jorge Masvidal came up short of capturing the UFC welterweight title last weekend at UFC 251, losing a unanimous decision to Kamaru Usman. In the last few days, ‘Gamebred’ has stated that he wants an immediate rematch with the champion. However, he’s not the only welterweight contender with an eye on the prize. Both Gilbert Burns and Leon Edwards are also campaigning for the next title shot.
Speaking to SCMP MMA, Edwards criticised Masvidal’s performance in the UFC 251 main event and said that he wasn’t surprised by the outcome.
“I thought what happened was going to happen. I never thought Jorge was a championship-level fighter in the first place.
“Usman was the bigger, stronger guy. He’s more well-rounded. He’s been more active. So I knew [he was going to win]. I thought Jorge only had a puncher’s chance of winning, and that was taken away after the first round.”
UFC president Dana White has stated that Gilbert Burns will challenge Usman next. The Brazilian was scheduled to challenge ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ at UFC 251, before testing positive for the coronavirus. Edwards however, believes he deserves the next shot at the welterweight champion.
“My work speaks for itself. I have the most [consecutive] wins in the division compared to the champion. Gilbert only came to the division four fights ago – after being knocked out at lightweight.
“His biggest win at welterweight is Demian Maia, and he’s 47, 46 years old,” Edwards added. “I truly believe I’ve done everything there is to do to deserve a title shot, and I should be the next in line.”
As Burns and Edwards separately campaign for their chance to challenge Usman, some fans are suggesting the two should face each other. However, ‘Rocky’ stated that he would prefer to face Masvidal. Which should be no surprise, after their scuffle last year backstage at UFC London.
“I prefer that fight over Gilbert,” Edwards said. “[Usman] said he wants to have a little time out with his daughter, his children, and chill for a bit. If they come to me and say ‘Gilbert or Masvidal,’ I’d prefer Masvidal for what happened in London, backstage. We’ve got a genuine beef between us. That would be a bigger fight, a more entertaining fight.
“[The beef] will never go away until I get my hands on him. Even after, it wouldn’t go away.”
If he were to fight Masvidal, Edwards is confident he would ‘smoke’ the ‘BMF’ champion.
“I truly believe I’ll stop him,” he said. “He’s nothing special. I knew that before he got beat by Usman. He fought Ben [Askren], Ben was s***. Nate Diaz is a journeyman. He beat Darren Till. That’s the only good win he’s had, Darren Till. Everyone else [he’s beaten] are average fighters, and he’s got this mad hype around him. I truly believe I would smoke him.”
Edwards previously fought Usman in December 2015 and lost by unanimous decision. But since the loss, the 28 year old Brit has won eight fights in a row, including wins over ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone and the former lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos. Should ‘Rocky’ get his rematch with Kamaru, he believes it will be a different story the second time around.
“It’d be a totally different fight. The first fight, I went to [American Kickboxing Academy] in San Jose, and the whole camp was concerned around defending his wrestling, not what I needed to do to win the fight. Just by coming back to the UK, believing in my team, working hard, I’ve now got eight wins a row. I haven’t come close to losing since [Usman]. I truly believe I’ve got everything I need, now, to go out there and defeat him.
“It’d be a dream come true for me, my team, my friends, my family, after all the hard work we’ve put in over the years,” Edwards continued. “It will happen. They’ll try to deny it, but I will be a world champion.”
Do you think Leon Edwards deserves the next title shot against Kamaru Usman?