Who’s The Next Opponent of Welterweight Champ Leon Edwards after UFC 286 Win?

Leon Edwards next fight

A common saying in combat sports is that a person is not truly the champion until they defend their title.

If that’s the case, Leon Edwards, who beat Kamaru Usman twice in the welterweight division at UFC 286 London, has cemented his position as the top man.

The glory days of Usman’s 15-fight winning streak, and his three-year reign as champion over the division are now behind him. We are entering the Edwards era and Usman reminded everyone by referring to himself as “king” of this division on Saturday night.

While all of this is true, the problem with being king is that there are endless challengers to the throne. Edwards is only one defense away from winning the title. Colby Covington could be the next opponent. There are many names on the shortlist like Belal Muhammad and Jorge Masvidal, who will be fighting Gilbert Burns in a upcoming bout. There are also prospects such as Shavkat Rahmonov, and big names like Conor McGregor who seem to be interested in fighting for welterweight titles.

It was an amazing run by Usman at 170 pounds. But, with him now out of the picture, things have become much more interesting. Welterweight has hit the reset button, so let’s look at the future in this one of UFC’s most prestigious divisions.

Who is the most worthy challenger to Edwards’ throne title?

It’s not an easy question. UFC president Dana White stated in Saturday’s postfight news conference that he believes that it is Covington and that the next title shot will be his. Edwards seemed to not be interested in that idea. He said that he doesn’t think Covington is logical and that the champion should make the decision. It’s difficult to discredit Muhammad who has won nine straight fights. What was the only loss in this stretch? Edwards will not be competing in the 2021 contest due to an Edwards eye poke. There’s also a story.

It would be a great story if Edwards’ next opponent was Masvidal. After an event in England, Masvidal and Edwards got into an altercation. Masvidal came up with what is now a well-known MMA phrase. Masvidal claimed that he hit Edwards with “three pieces and a soda,” which refers to a punching combination. It went viral. Masvidal, who is currently on a losing streak of three fights, has Burns as his opponent at UFC 287 on April 8. If Masvidal beats Burns, Burns, who was a former title challenger to Usman, will also be there for a title shot.

Simple reason Covington & Masvidal are in title conversation. The UFC is a company. It is a promotion. It is not a merit-based league. This is something to remember when White speaks at the news conference and declares that Covington is the most deserving. He really meant that Covington is the next title challenger to the UFC. That’s okay. This is the reality of the sport. You can understand why Muhammad feels like he is being overlooked. Muhammad has done all they tell him to be a fighter in order to win a title shot.


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