Englishman Leon Edwards is currently on an eight-fight UFC winning streak and if not for COVID-19, could well have made the move to even bigger things.
However, it was not to be as a fight with Tyron Woodley ended up being postponed indefinitely with the American now turning his attention to Colby Covington, who he fights on September 19.
As we know, things change quickly in the fight game and one should never rule anything out, so, with that in mind, who should the most exciting fighter ever to come out of Birmingham fight next?
There are two reasons why Usman could be next on the cards for Edwards. Firstly, ‘Rocky’ was actually offered the fight with Usman after Gilbert Burns tested positive for COVID-19 but had to decline due to a lack of resources to prepare properly.
That coincides with the second reason which is that Usman is actually the last man to beat Edwards in the Octagon and surely the Birmingham fighter would love a chance of revenge.
The only issues remains is if the UFC will want to book it or if they will ask Edwards to prove his title chops once more before granting him a shot at the champion.
Yes, it may seem an obvious choice but that is exactly why Woodley is on this list. Woodley is a former champion which appeals to Edwards and although the Englishman is ranked higher according to the UFC rankings, Edwards is well aware that if he takes down Woodley, a title shot could be in the making.
Admittedly, Edwards has stated he is not interested in fighting anyone beneath him, there may be few options left to him.
As mentioned above, Jorge Masvidal did just lose to Usman in what was hardly a surprise, but the 35-year-old is no fool and would prove a stern test for Edwards especially if he is looking to build an impressive welterweight CV.
However, the fight seems unlikely due to the fact Masvidal is more interested in chasing “money” fights against the likes of Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor – something Edwards is not happy about. ‘Rocky’ and ‘Street Jesus’ have an ongoing beef which stems from Masvidal giving Edwards a “three-piece and a soda” at UFC London.
The number one contender is now negative for COVID-19 after recovering well but did admit in July that he was only 85% physically fit.
Burns would prove an appealing prospect for Edwards however the Brazilian submission specialist is now set to square off against Usman for the welterweight title at UFC 256 on December 12. Will Edwards be willing to wait until 2021 to face the winner or loser of this 170lb title fight? Probably not. ‘Rocky’ hasn’t fought since defeating Rafael dos Anjos at UFC on ESPN 4 back in July 2019 and is in desperate need of a fight sooner rather than later.