Edwards, who stunned Kamaru Usman and the MMA world with a comeback head-kick knockout for the ages in the final minute at UFC 278 to win the welterweight title, and Masvidal have had a rivalry ever since their viral “three piece and a soda incident” backstage at UFC London in March 2019, but haven’t had the chance to actually settle their score inside of the octagon.
With Edwards winning the title, and Masvidal currently without a dance partner, “Gamebred” provided a message to the current 170-pound champ.
“Leon, f****** step up to the plate, bro,” Masvidal told MMA Fighting following iKON FC 5. “You begged and cried, and did all of this bulls*** before when I was fighting for the title — now you’ve got the belt, let’s go. I never dodged this f*** because when I wasn’t fighting Leon, I was fighting the guy who had the belt. After that, I fought the guy who was [ranked] No. 1.
“So if Leon wants it, I’m here, but he’d rather be drinking tea, eating fish and chips and s***, I don’t know.”
On Saturday, Edwards was made aware of Masvidal’s challenge and took to social media, where he issued his response.
refer to me as “Mr Edwards" or "Sir" and get on your knees and beg and I may consider it https://t.co/fr6o0OsygT— Leon 'Rocky' Edwards (@Leon_edwardsmma) October 15, 2022
A day later, Masvidal reacted to Edwards’ retort, and made it a point to let Edwards know that it’s his chance to get revenge for one of the most talked about moments in the UFC over the past three-plus years. while making a potential hefty paycheck in the process.
I’ve never gotten on my knees and begged anyone for anything. If your lifestyle is to get on your knees for stuff that’s on you, I’m not judging. Accept the fight, get this payday, get your rematch and get your face broken at the same time. It’s a no brainer dummy #itoldyou— BMF.eth (@GamebredFighter) October 16, 2022
Masvidal is currently on a three-fight skid, with those losses coming to — at the time — the two best welterweights in the world in Usman and Colby Covington. Many fans have stated that the 37-year-old hasn’t earned the right and doesn’t “deserve” a third opportunity to fight for the UFC welterweight title.
With 51 pro fights under his belt, Masvidal may try and understand where the fans are coming from, he also knows that a precedent was set by the UFC in the past that could put this fight together — whether it’s the meritocratic way, or not.
“I don’t take nothing to heart,” Masvidal said. “I definitely think I deserve it, and just from the money side of it, we definitely deserve it. From the fan side of it, we definitely deserve it. Who doesn’t want to see me fight Leon? They might say I don’t deserve it, but they would still raise their hands in the dark, in quiet, and say, ‘I want to see that fight. I’m actually going to pay my hard-earned money to see that fight,’ so I don’t agree with that.
“[Dan Henderson] had beat [Michael] Bisping, and when Bisping was champion — and I think Hendo was similar to me, he wasn’t even in the top 10 at the time and they just dropped my ranking as well — they brought ‘Hendo’ in there, in England, gave [Bisping] a tough fight. It ended up going five rounds, Bisping won the decision in England, but that had a story. And if that fight has a story, this one has a f****** movie between me and what’s his face, that f****** English f***.
“Why not just give the fans what they want? If I didn’t deserve it, or fans didn’t want it, why is everyone just talking about this? They’re always talking about me against Leon in England.”
As far as Edwards’ championship victory, Masvidal said the result wasn’t as shocking in his eyes as it was to most other people, even telling MMA Fighting prior to the fight that an Edwards finish wasn’t out of the realm of possibility. When Edwards’ kick landed across the face of Usman in Salt Lake City, Masvidal believed it could’ve been an omen.
“It’s like God told it to me in my dreams,” Masvidal told MMA Fighting. “So what does that mean? That hopefully I’m kicking Leon’s ass soon then get back in front of Usman, get back in front of everybody.
“But I don’t know what’s happening right now. Leon’s getting a little cold feet, I don’t know what it is. He doesn’t want to lose in England again to me. He’s kind of ignoring my phone calls.”