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Who should be next for UFC Welterweight Champion Leon Edwards?

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24th March, 2023

There are plenty of opinions and debates floating around about who should challenge UFC Welterweight Champion Leon Edwards next.

With the event having wrapped up nearly a week ago, we look always look ahead to what’s next.

His performance radiated a breath of fresh air in the 170-pound division after he comfortably defended his title against Kamaru Usman at UFC 286 in London, England.

But bizarrely, in the mind of UFC President Dana White, the next challenger has already been determined for the Brit.

That man’s name is Colby Covington.

This news stunned me and most fight fans watching the post-fight press conference in London.

That’s not to say Covington isn’t a top contender, but I don’t view him as the rightful challenger.

I can understand the point of view that Covington flew out to London on short notice and had to cut nearly 20 pounds before making weight on the scale.


That professionalism is something that can’t be ignored.

The former Interim Welterweight Champion shocked everyone in the MMA world when he hit the scales in London as the back-up fighter to the main event.

So, why would Dana elect to go with this option? Is it a way of saying thank you to Covington for accepting the back-up role with the possibility of either Edwards or Usman pulling out of the fight?

This seems to go against Dana’s way of thinking when it comes to organising title fights.

The UFC boast about the fact that they always make the biggest and best fight possible, which is what makes the company so entertaining to fighters and fans across the globe.

Leon Edwards of Jamaica celebrates after winning a welterweight title bout against Kamaru Usman of Nigeria during UFC 278 at Vivint Arena on August 20, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Leon Edwards of Jamaica celebrates after winning a welterweight title bout against Kamaru Usman of Nigeria during UFC 278 at Vivint Arena on August 20, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Edwards was quick to dismiss White’s claims of Covington being the next in line for the title, and it’s hard to argue with that stance.


The Englishman should be allowed to have a say in who should challenge him next, not having an opponent forced upon him.

People forget that Edwards didn’t take the easy road to UFC glory.

From the UFC removing him from the rankings during peak COVID, he did everything possible to become champion of the world.

He was shunned to the side for so long and never taken seriously when coming through the ranks, but now he sits at the top of the mountain above all the fighters that criticised him from the very beginning.

Now, all those welterweights want what Edwards has worked very hard to accomplish – the Welterweight Championship of the world.

This proves that he more than deserves some influence about who should share the the octagon with him next time out.

The narrative around Covington getting the next shot at the title doesn’t make such sense when you factor in Jorge Masvidal’s rivalry with Edwards that stretches back four years and rising contender Belal Muhammad on a four-fight win streak to name a few.


Dana’s comments did absolutely no favours in hyping up Masvidal’s upcoming bout against Gilbert Burns in Miami at UFC 287, which doesn’t make any sense considering it should be viewed as a potential #1 contender’s fight.

If Masvidal wins, surely the fight to make would be Edwards vs Masvidal.

What’s makes this brilliant is they don’t like each other at all.

Fight fans know this stems from a feud that began way back in 2019 when Masvidal hit Edwards backstage in London.

The hatred is there. The rivalry is there. The story is there. Therefore, this is easy matchmaking for the UFC.

However, all of this hinges on a Masvidal win, and Burns is a very dangerous contender who has fought for the belt previously.

We can’t say for absolute certain what’s going to happen next.


Will it definitely be Covington? Or will the likes of Masvidal, Burns or Muhammad slip through and get the opportunity?

We haven’t even mentioned the likes of undefeated prospects Khamzat Chimaev or Shavkat Rakmonov.

It would take something big for Dana to change his mind on Covington, but you just never know what’s around the corner in the UFC.