If the UFC matchmakers need a replacement for the promotion’s Jan. 20 main event, they have plenty of options.
Not long after it was reported that Khamzat Chimaev has been forced out of his headlining bout opposite Leon Edwards scheduled for UFC Fight Island 8, a slew of welterweight contenders announced their candidacy to serve as a potential replacement.
Vicente Luque seeks a second fight with Edwards after losing a decision to “Rocky” back in March 2017. Since that time, Luque has won eight of nine fights and he’s eager to redeem that loss and take Edwards’ spot int he rankings.
“I’m ready to get that rematch with [Edwards],” Luque wrote on Twitter. “I know MMA fans would love to watch it.”
Current middleweight contender Kevin Holland also chimed in, looking to book his sixth fight in eight months. “Trailblazer” has yet to compete at 170 pounds in the UFC, but he’s throwing his hat into the ring for a shot at Edwards.
“Hold up, so am I hearing the [UFC Fight Island] hotel has a vacancy and needs a real man to come and do work January 20th?” Holland wrote on Twitter.
Holland clearly has big plans for 2021 after a 2020 campaign that saw him go 5-0 and finish in the top five of MMA Fighting’s Fighter of the Year and Breakout Fighter of the Year lists. On Tuesday, it was reported that Holland could be tied to a March 20 main event with Derek Brunson, but given Holland’s schedule that might not preclude him from competing in January as well.
Holland suggested as much on Twitter:
One fighter already booked for the Jan. 20 show has also volunteered to replace Chimaev, top-10 ranked welterweight Neil Magny. Magny is scheduled to fight Michael Chiesa at UFC Fight Island 8, but he responded to the news on Instagram with the suggestion that he get the Edwards fight, simply writing, “Let’s make it happen!”
Edwards is currently on an eight-fight win streak. Should he end up competing as scheduled, it will be his first fight since July 2019.
He later tweeted that while he would still like to fight Chimaev, his plan is to fight on Jan. 20.