Leon Edwards
Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Leon Edwards has revealed he was offered a fight against welterweight champion Kamaru Usman before ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ was eventually matched against Gilbert Burns, who he’ll meet at UFC 251 on July 11.

Usman has been searching for a new opponent since his fight against number one contender and BMF titilist Jorge Masvidal fell through due to a dispute over finances for the fight.

Edwards who is currently riding an 8-fight win streak appeared to be the next guy in line. Ariel Helwani confirmed he was offered the fight but was unable to accept it due to the current situation in his home country of England.  

“After it looked like the Masvidal fight was going to fall through, the UFC did reach out to Leon Edwards’ camp to see if he would fight Kamaru Usman on July 11, sources say, but the UK lockdown proved to be problematic for Edwards on short notice fight,” Helwani wrote.

‘Rocky’ later took to social media to confirm the rumours he turned down a title fight but reiterated his desire to become champion in the near future, he said.

“For those asking, yes I got offered the shot before Gilbert.  We couldn’t make it work this time. 2020 has been tough for me on this side of the world, as it has been for alot of people, but fuck it, you cant stop what is inevitable. The strap will be mine. Continue to stay safe everybody.”

Despite passing on his title chance it appears Edwards will still get a shot as he’s got the backing of Ali Abdelaziz who manages the champion, Usman.

“Hey champ I don’t know you but i respect you , you are next , you deserve it more than anybody,” Abdelaziz said.

Do you think Leon Edwards should be next in line after turning down a title shot?

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.