How quickly the world has forgotten about Leon Edwards.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in Birmingham, England, Edwards fought hard to earn his stripes en route to becoming one of the sports premier welterweights. Absorbing a “3 piece with the soda” from Jorge Masvidal in 2019 sidetracked the 18-3 Edwards, who looks to make his return to the UFC’s Octagon after a 602 day layoff to face Belal “Remember the Name” Muhammad at UFC Vegas 21.
It is incredibly frustrating to watch talent sit idle. Leon Edwards remains, by most accounts, a legitimate contender. He possesses excellent wrestling, plus level striking, intelligent game plans, and a workmanlike mentality. “Rocky’s” professional fighting career includes notable wins over Vicente Luque, Albert Tumenov, Donald Cerrone, Gunnar Nelson, and Rafael Dos Anjos, with his only UFC losses being to Claudio Silva and current Welterweight Champion, Kamaru Usman.
July 20th, 2019 should have been a night of celebration for Leon Edwards after a dominant win over former UFC Lightweight Champion, Rafael Dos Anjos. Instead, it was a set ablaze with controversy after Edwards ate a barrage of strikes while confronting Jorge Masvidal during a heated post-fight interview. What took place during those few seconds caught on camera sent Masvidal on a meteoric rise, streaking to a “BMF” title as well as a legitimate title shot vs Kamaru Usman. Edwards, who sat on the precipice as a legitimate contender prior to the confrontation, was left with nothing but a bloody face and the wrath of fans basking in the glory of Masvidal’s handywork.
So, Leon Edwards has had 19 months on the sidelines to convalesce. 1 year and 7 months to marinate, mulling over the Masvidal incident while planning his long-awaited return. Sure, the pandemic cancelled an announced headliner vs Tyron Woodley in 2020 and many more planned bouts vs Khamzat Chimaev in late 2020 and early 2021. What should not be lost here is Leon Edwards’ abilities as a mixed martial artist. Barring any legitimate ring-rust, the 29 year-old Team Renegade product remains one of the best welterweights in the world. All eyes will be on Leon Edwards vs Belal Muhammad as the 5-round fight headlines UFC Vegas 21 on March 13th at UFC Apex.