UFC 269 suffered a big blow on Wednesday when news came out that Jorge Masvidal was pulling out of his Welterweight contender fight with Leon Edwards. While the card still features two title fights, including a highly anticipated bout between champ Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier, losing Masvidal’s star power definitely hurts the card.
Fortunately, this is mixed martial arts (MMA), where promoters are always willing to turn lemons into lemonade with last-minute bookings when holes develop on a card. There’s certainly no shortage of fighters jumping around on social media shouting, “Pick me!” when it comes to stepping in.
There is, of course, Khamzat Chimaev, who has never passed up on an opportunity to make a quick turnaround. Chimaev just fought at UFC 267 last month, but sounds more than ready to jump on a plane and come to Las Vegas to fight Leon Edwards. It’s a bout that was made and unmade several times over 2020 because of COVID-19, and it’s clear Chimaev thinks a win would put him within striking range of a UFC title shot.
Then there’s Nick Diaz, who kind of came out of nowhere to declare, “Put me in” on a post about Khamzat wanting to replace Masvidal. It’s unclear whether Nick is angling to fight Edwards, who just defeated his little brother Nate via decision back at UFC 263 in June, or if he’s calling for a fight with Khamzat.
We have our doubts Nick is even capable of stepping into any Welterweight fight given his loss to Robbie Lawler in September was switched to a 185-pound bout last minute (details here). But, boy would the addition of the original Stockton Slapper in any form be exciting.
Belal Muhammad is also clamoring for a fight. Belal did Edwards a solid by stepping in to fight him last-minute in March 2021 and got eye poked into a “No Contest” for his trouble. A rematch never materialized, but maybe now is the perfect time to sort that unfinished business?
Took it on 2 weeks last time give me 4 this time I’m ready— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) November 10, 2021
And Gilbert Burns is also floating around, looking to re-establish his place in the conversation at 170 pounds.
Unfortunately for everyone calling out Edwards, there’s a good chance Edwards doesn’t accept any short notice fight. His Twitter response to Masvidal’s injury announcement sounded pretty straight forward: he was shutting down his training camp and going back home to his family ... and he’d see Kamaru Usman soon. That’s pretty much the opposite of someone ready to take on all comers to cement himself as the rightful No. 1 contender.
I’m always in for a fight!— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) November 10, 2021
But, that just makes the possibilities all the more interesting. Mix-and-match some of the fighters who have stepped up: Throw Khamzat Chimaev against Gilbert Burns. Gold! There, that one’s free, UFC matchmakers. You’re welcome.