Frustrated Edwards commits to fighting this year

MMA

UFC welterweight Leon Edwards has had an even more frustrating 2020 than some of his peers, but says he is still “100%” committed to taking a fight this year.

Edwards (18-3), of England, was supposed to headline UFC Fight Night opposite former champion Tyron Woodley in March, inside London’s 02 Arena. The event was canceled, however, due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Edwards has ultimately not fought since July 2019 — partially due to travel restrictions and lockdowns in the United Kingdom.

In the meantime, the UFC’s 170-pound division is making moves without him. Surging contender Gilbert Burns is expected to challenge defending champion Kamaru Usman in December, and Jorge Masvidal, who Edwards was involved with in a backstage incident in 2019, is targeting a rematch against Nate Diaz in early 2021.

“It’s an annoying position to be in,” Edwards told ESPN. “I’m the only guy in the top 10 who is not living in the U.S., I believe. But these guys have to fight me soon. I’ll 100% fight this year. I’m 29 and I need to stay active. These guys in the top 5 are all [in their mid-30s]. I’m the youngest in the top 15, probably. I want to be active.”

Edwards has won eight fights in a row and would be a candidate to face the winner of Usman’s title fight against Burns, but says he is targeting a return to the Octagon around October or November. He’s open to fighting on “Fight Island” in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi or the U.S. He said he’s looking for a big name and suggested Nick Diaz, who hasn’t fought since 2015, as a potential opponent.

“I’ve done enough to deserve a big fight, a big name — I don’t think any fight will do,” Edwards said. “At least a name to motivate me to go out and do the job. I heard Nick Diaz is coming back; that’d be a good fight. He’s a popular name. It would be good to beat Nick, that’d be nine in a row. But any of these big names, I believe I am better than them.”

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