Usman all but welcomed the challenge after Luque submitted Chiesa on this past Saturday’s pay-per-view card. So where does that leave Leon Edwards?
UFC President Dana White couldn’t say for sure at the UFC 265 press conference. But when asked whether Edwards would have to take another fight before a title shot, he said, “probably a good idea. I mean, the guy’s fought one time in the last two years.”
Edwards said he deserved a shot at the belt – and later said he’d already been offered one before COVID-19 turned the world upside down – with a win over Nate Diaz at UFC 263. But that victory was overshadowed, in part, by a last-second rally from Diaz that had Edwards perhaps one punch away from being finished.
Afterward, White named former interim champ Colby Covington the No. 1 contender to Usman, and a rematch was recently announced as in the works for UFC 268 on Nov. 6.
The fallout from that title fight and a crowded field of contenders could increase the pressure on Edwards to avoid the lengthy layoff that delayed his title aspirations despite an eight-fight winning streak.
Whether or not the U.K. standout will cave remains to be seen.