UFC welterweight contender Leon Edwards, currently ranked No. 3 at 170 pounds, has captured nine straight wins dating back to his decision loss to Kamaru Usman in late 2015, along with one “No Contest,” but can’t seem to score a division title shot because the promotion is trying to hold him back.
That’s according to “Rocky,” who in turn will refuse to lose.
“It’s been six years since my last loss,” Edwards told MMA Fighting. “Colby (Covington) got beat by the champion, fought Woodley, the fight ended by injury, sat out for over a year and got a title shot. But when I go on and get 10 fights in a row, now, ‘He needs one more.’ Every time, it’s one more. I think they’re trying to get me beat, but I cannot lose. I truly believe that I will be the next world champion. They’re trying to hold me back from it, but it’s coming. I truly believe it.”
Covington rematches welterweight champion Kamaru Usman at UFC 268 in November.
Those tired “division integrity” and “beat someone relevant” arguments don’t really hold up when you consider UFC previously awarded title shots to fighters coming off losses, like Nick Diaz and Yoel Romero, just to name a few. Like most things in life, opportunity is proportionate to popularity, so Edwards may have little choice but to play ball.
“I thought it was a sport where if you go out and beat and compete and win, you get your shot,” Edwards continued. “But if that’s what I have to do to get my shot is to go take pictures and selfies and be pally-pally to everyone, then I don’t know.”
“Gilbert (Burns) does nothing for my career at this point,” Edwards said. “He just got knocked out and cried like a baby in the Octagon. And then went and humped [Stephen] ‘Wonderboy’ [Thompson] for three rounds. Only way I compete now is Masvidal, because of the history we’ve got and the backstory.”