By Kyle Smith
Dana White recently announced the location of ‘fight island’ and confirmed the full card for UFC 251. The event will be headlined with a welterweight title fight between current champion, Kamaru Usman, and top contender, Gilbert Burns.
Rising star Jorge Masvidal was originally touted to face the 170lb king but failed negotiations ignited a wider debate about fighter pay. With Masvidal sidelined, a new opponent was required and Burns received the call following his one-sided victory over Tyron Woodley last week.
Despite ‘Durinho’ being the top contender, the #5 ranked welterweight, Leon Edwards, revealed that he was the company’s first choice opponent. As he should have been. Leon Edwards has been on an 8-fight win streak with his most recent victory against Raphael Dos Anjos back in July of 2019.
Edwards was set to face Woodley in April but travel restrictions struck once again. The Birmingham native is on an impressive eight-fight winning streak but remains trapped in the U.K., where the COVID-19 lockdown is yet to be fully lifted. With Burns in the top spot, it will be a long time before ‘Rocky’ receives his shot at UFC gold.
In the meantime, the former Cage Warriors champion has a long list of opponents that he could eliminate from contention. Colby Covington is currently seeking a match-up. The outspoken athlete hasn’t fought since his loss at UFC 245 and a win over Edwards would put him right back into the top spot. Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson is also available and would serve as a great opponent for Edwards to keep busy.
However, both of these men pose a great threat to Leon’s position and will require a great game plan from the Team Renegade coaches.
Who do you think could be next for Leon Edwards?
Stay tuned for more on the #5 ranked welterweight.