Leon Edwards, who successfully defended the UFC welterweight belt against Kamaru Usman at UFC 286, isn’t convinced that Khamzat Chimaev is deserving of a title shot. 

With a second-straight win over Usman this past weekend, Edwards solidified himself as the true king of the 170-pound division. 

Immediately after the fight, there were questions on who would be Edwards’ next opponent. There are multiple contenders in the welterweight division, including No. 3 ranked Khamzat Chimaev. 

In an interview with Ariel Helwani of The MMA Hour, Edwards, who is the first Jamaican-born UFC champion, believes Chimaev hasn’t earned an opportunity at a title shot. 

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Khamzat [Chimaev] is a guy that I got matched up with three times in a row. I took the fight and he didn’t take the fight and then he’s getting rewarded..[when] I got removed out of the rankings,” Edwards said. “This Dana White privilege is definitely real.”

Chimaev has been outspoken about wanting to win UFC gold at welterweight. He labeled Edwards and Usman as “clowns” ahead of UFC 286.

He is unbeaten (12-0, 6-0 in UFC) in his career. His resume includes wins over Gilbert Burns, Kevin Holland and Li Jingliang to name a select few. 

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The Chechnya, native Russia hasn’t competed since his controversial weight-cut at UFC 279 last September. Originally scheduled to headline the pay-per-view against Nate Diaz, the 28-year-old missed the 170-pound limit by 7.5 pounds. He was then matched up against Holland, who he defeated by first-round submission. 

Leon Edwards Has A Lot of Options in the 170-pound division

Edwards, 31, doesn’t believe there’s a clear-cut No. 1 contender in his division. Along with Chimaev, the Birmingham, England native has also dismissed a potential fight with Colby Covington, who UFC president Dana White said is next in line for a title shot. 

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“Rocky” will closely be watching UFC 287, where welterweights Jorge Masvidal and Burns are scheduled to co-headline the main card.

Marc Ray has lived his entire life in Houston, Texas, where he was born, raised and attended the University of Houston, studying broadcast journalism. As you may imagine, he spends much of his time watching mixed martial arts as part of his daily routine — not only to pump himself up, but also because he deeply enjoys the sport. Ray has worked for Houston Public Media, where he interned in the newsroom and produced community stories. Ray also created sports features in Houston for El Gato Media Network and occasionally produced content for an internship at AARP.