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Leon Edwards switches focus to Jorge Masvidal at UFC 226, predicts Stephen Thompson beats Darren Till

UFC 204 Media Day Photos Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Leon Edwards made a very public bid to secure a main event slot against Darren Till at UFC Liverpool following his last-second victory in London over Peter Sobotta.

In his post-fight interview, “Rocky” called for the Liverpudlian, who dismissively shook his head from Octagon-side. On Wednesday, the UFC announced Till would face Stephen Thompson in the Liverpool main event — a fight that Till has been calling for since November.

With Till booked, Edwards claims that he will wait until July to get back in the Octagon. He has no interest in competing in Liverpool due to the lack of ranked options available at welterweight. Now, he hopes to gain a slot on UFC 226 in July, which will be headlined by Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier.

“That was the only way I was fighting on UFC Liverpool, if it was the main event against Darren Till,” Edwards told MMA Fighting.

“Everyone else is booked anyway. I wouldn’t get a well-known opponent even if I did fight in Liverpool. The best thing for me to do now is to wait for July and try to get a ranked opponent on the Stipe vs. DC undercard.”

Although he didn’t manage to win the Liverpool lottery, Edwards still thinks he will fight the Team Kaobon front-runner in the future.

“I see all of these welterweights in my future, including Till,” Edwards said. “I think we’ll definitely fight at some stage, but I’m not in any rush. I’ll get that fight when it comes around again, but make no mistake about it, every single ranked UFC welterweight is on my hit list.

“Till is just another guy to me. I don’t understand where all this hype is coming from. His only big win is against a lightweight, Donald Cerrone. It doesn’t bother me, I’m just focused on my journey and a fight in July.”

Edwards tried to step in as a late replacement to fight “Cowboy” in Gdansk. The UFC veteran ended up facing Till, whose star was launched on the back of his first-round knockout of the former lightweight contender.

Although Edwards is still keen on a showdown with “Cowboy,” he thinks Jorge Masvidal would make for an interesting stylistic counterpart too.

“I’ll be pushing for either Jorge Masvidal or Donald Cerrone,” Edwards said. “Stylistically, I think I beat them both quite easily. Masvidal is the only one in the top 10 that isn’t matched up, so that’s the main reason that I want him in July. I think it’s a perfect fight for me. He’s a big name in the sport.”

With a number of top-ranked welterweights matched over the last week, Edwards has no qualms about waiting until July to get back in the Octagon.

“Everyone will have already fought and had some recovery time by July, so I think that will free up a lot of top ranked welterweights,” Edwards said. “The reason why I’m calling for Masvidal is that he isn’t booked and he has said he’ll be back in July. I’m waiting until July so I can get a ranked guy, I’m not going to fight anyone else.”

Edwards believes that Till has bitten off more than he can chew by demanding the Thompson bout. He is adamant that Till needs to pull off the win to make UFC’s maiden voyage to Liverpool a success.

“For the Liverpool event to be successful, Till needs to win this fight 100 percent,” Edwards said. “I feel like the UFC are putting all their eggs into one basket with him. Stephen Thompson is a really elite welterweight. I remember this happening so many times in this sport where they try to build up someone and it’s all fallen to pieces,” he said.

He is confident that Thompson will have his hand raised at the Echo Arena on May 27.

“I think ‘Wonderboy’ wins the fight,” Edwards said. “I think he has too much of an advantage over Till stylistically. You see both guys moving forward in a straight line a lot, but I think ‘Wonderboy’ has better movement. I think it’s going to be a hard night’s work for Till.

“As I said, I can’t remember a single opponent Till has beaten apart from Cerrone. Everybody’s talking about his knockout power — with everyone else he just drops them, he can’t stop them. I’m going with ‘Wonderboy’ for that fight.”