With their longstanding rivalry dating back to UFC Fight Night London in March of 2019, welterweight contenders, Leon Edwards and Jorge Masvidal have yet to actually settle their differences enclosed in an Octagon. And according to upcoming headliner, Edwards, the Floridian will continue to “find an excuse” to avoid a matchup with him.
Expected to finally meet with uber-prospect, Khamzat Chimaev at the third time of trying at UFC Vegas 21 on March 13th. — a couple of positive COVID-19 test results from each of them seen two matchups in December and January shelved, respectively.
To get a latch on Edwards’ long time rivalry with Masvidal, we have to go back in the opening quarter of 2019 where Edwards returned to home soil with a unanimous decision victory over Gunnar Nelson at UFC Fight Night London. Headlining that event, Darren Till clashed with Masvidal — hoping to rebound from his championship challenge loss to Tyron Woodley.
Stopping the Liverpudlian in dramatic fashion via a second round knockout, Masvidal would go on to win his next three on the trot, prior to a short-notice title shot loss to Kamaru Usman at UFC 251 last July on ‘Fight Island’.
Speaking with ESPN MMA reporter and Dana White’s Contender Series commentator, Laura Sanko after his stoppage win over Masvidal, the American Top Team mainstay was asked by Edwards if he would be open to a matchup in the future, with the two exchanging some words. Walking toward the Birmingham native with his hands clasped behind his back, Masvidal and Edwards got into a physical altercation, with the latter receiving a laceration beneath his left eye.
Tangled at the top of the welterweight division but still yet to stand opposite each other under the UFC’s scrutiny, Edwards told during a recent interview with Submission Radiohow he believes Masvidal will continue to do all in his power to avoid a matchup with him.
“They (the UFC) just said he (Jorge Masvidal) doesn’t want to fight,” Edwards said. “Basically I said, ‘gimme Jorge’ and they said, ‘basically he doesn’t want to fight you and that’s it.’ They said they put it to him and he turned it down, that’s it. You cannot force a man to fight, you know what I mean? He doesn’t want to fight — he talks all this BMF sh*t but he doesn’t want to fight. That’s just the bottom line of it.”
“I think he’ll find some excuse not to fight me,” Edwards said. “When I win the belt he’ll try call for me then, and try and fight me then, you know what I mean — even then I’ll probably give him a go at the belt. So we’ll see, we’ll see. I’ll keep doing my thing — I’m finna whip his ass, if that doesn’t get him in the cage with me, we’ll see.“
It’s been a period of somewhat uncertainty regarding the fighting future of Masvidal since his loss to incumbent champion, Usman. After originally campaigning for an immediate rematch, it seemed the promotion was then tentatively targeting a matchup between himself and former ATT teammate and friend, one-time interim champion, Colby Covington, however, that pairing has also failed to come to fruition as of yet.