Leon Edwards will seek a ninth consecutive victory in the welterweight division when he clashes with Belal Muhammad in the UFC Vegas 21 main event, and a win should be enough to finally earn a long-awaited title shot.
That’s according to UFC President Dana White, who addressed Edwards’ status in the welterweight division as he prepares to compete for the first time since 2019.
“100 percent [he’s next],” White told BT Sport when asked about Edwards’ chances for a title shot with a win at UFC Vegas 21.
The coronavirus pandemic has wiped out every previous attempt Edwards has made to fight in the past year, including his own battle with COVID-19 that scrapped a planned matchup against Khamzat Chimaev. He fights Muhammad this weekend after the planned showdown with Chimaev was scrapped for the third time because the Chechen prospect is still dealing with lingering symptoms from the virus.
In the aftermath of that fight falling apart, Edwards told MMA Fighting that the UFC tried to match him up against former interim champion Colby Covington but he turned down the fight.
For his part, White couldn’t remember the particulars surrounding Covington and the fight against Edwards, but he expects the always outspoken welterweight to return to action in the near future.
“I don’t remember what the Colby Covington situation was, but we’ll get Colby a fight here soon,” White said. “Right now, I don’t know [who’s next for him]. We’ll see how some of this stuff plays out, but we’ll get him figured out.”
While there’s still mystery surrounding who Covington will fight next, all signs seem to point to welterweight champion Kamaru Usman facing off with Jorge Masvidal later this year. As of now, there’s no deal done for the fight to happen, but White knows it’s the matchup Usman wants after a short-notice win over Masvidal this past July following a positive COVID-19 test from fellow welterweight contender Gilbert Burns.
“[Usman] was telling me that he doesn’t like the fact that Masvidal has an excuse,” White relayed when addressing the welterweight champion. “So he said, ‘I want to make it so this guy has a great camp and then there’s no excuses.’”