Leon Edwards is not going to defend the UFC welterweight championship against Colby Covington when the promotion returns to England.
UFC president Dana White revealed that the promotion was expected to go to London, where it held one of its most recent pay-per-view events in UFC 286 this past March. There, Edwards won his second straight fight against Kamaru Usman, this time via a majority decision. Given the success of its recent events, White wanted to head to London again in the near future.
“The fans over there are amazing,” said White during his UFC 287 post-fight press conference. “We’re supposed to have a Fight Night in July. I want it to be a pay-per-view. There’s a lot of internal s—t that needs to be worked out, and I’m working on it.”
Leon Edwards shuts down return in London
Since he was previously in action in London, there was some discussion regarding Leon Edwards’ next defense — which is expected to come against Covington. However, ‘Rocky’ has shut down a fight with ‘Chaos’ so soon after his most recent defense, so returning to headline the next UFC pay-per-view is out of the question.
“No, unless it comes with stupid money, then I might consider [fighting in London],” said Edwards in an interview with Nik Hobbs of Sky Sports. “Like I said, the bag always talks. Come with some stupid money, and I might consider it. But apart from that, I just don’t see it.
“I fought under a month ago, so I’ve still got stuff I’ve got to deal with first,” continued Edwards. “Literally next week, I would have to be back in camp and back to work. I feel like, August to March, I did that already. Now they’re saying March to July. I don’t think it makes sense.”
If not London, then where? For Edwards, a return to the Octagon in Abu Dhabi is perfect. Not only does it give him enough time to recover from his injuries, but it also allows for proper preparation for his next defense.
“In the last year or so, I’ve fought three times I think,” said Edwards. “I’d love to fight now towards the end of the year. The Abu Dhabi card [UFC 294] would be great. That would be the perfect timing. You’ve got a massive British population in the Emirates on that side of the world, so I feel like there’ll be a lot of fans coming out to see me, as well. That would be for me ideal.”
Leon Edwards unimpressed with Colby Covington
Though adamant Covington is undeserving of his expected championship opportunity, Edwards is not avoiding the challenge. The way the UFC welterweight champion sees it, he has already fought better fighters than the MMA Masters product.
“I think Colby Covington is like a BTech Usman — literally, there’s nothing there,” said Edwards. “If that’s what they want, I’ll give them that. The opponent doesn’t bother me, it’s just more the date that bothers me. So, yeah. We’ll see.
“I remember when I was going through the pandemic, he was like, ‘Who’s Leon Edwards? I don’t know who that is’ and now look: He’s like begging me and hunting me down for the title shot. How times have changed. Now I’m king of the hill and I’ll sit back and let him beg some more and I’ll consider it. I’ve earned it.”
Per White, Covington earned a fight with the champion after he flew into London and weighed in to serve as the backup fighter at UFC 286 this past March.
About the author