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Leon Edwards says halting the Khamzat Chimaev hype train will seal a welterweight title shot

Leon Edwards may be taking a big risk by facing Khamzat Chimaev, but he’s confident that it’ll pay off with a title shot.

Edwards (18-3 MMA, 10-2 UFC), who’s won his past eight in a row, is on the cusp of title contention, but a string of bad luck has kept him out of action for 18 months.

He saw his March main event against former champion Tyron Woodley fall through because of COVID-19, and a subsequent title shot against Kamaru Usman failed to materialize in July.

Edwards will finally return to the octagon when he faces rising unbeaten star Chimaev (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) in the main event of UFC Fight Night on Dec. 19, and the Brit expects to secure a title shot if he derails the Chimaev hype train.

“It was mentioned in negotiations,” Edwards told MMA Junkie. “I can’t see who else they can give it to. Masvidal again? Colby again? Like who could they give it to? These guys in under a year or so have already lost for the title. Colby fought for the title before, Masvidal basically got outwrestled easy for the title, so I can’t see who else they’d give a title shot to next. But it will be me.”

Edwards’ last loss was in 2015 to current UFC champion Usman and, if the stars align, he’d like nothing more than to run things back with his old adversary. Usman is expected to defend his title against Gilbert Burns in the first quarter of 2021 and Edwards isn’t expecting the title to change hands.

“I think Usman, for sure. I think he beats Burns,” Edwards said. “Burns is good, but he’s probably like the B-class Usman, so I think Usman should get it done.”

He continued, “He is the last person to beat me, eight fights ago. So, to go out there and get that one back and to win the title, that would be way, way better.”

Another fighter that Edwards has unfinished business with is Masvidal, who clashed with the Brit backstage after UFC on ESPN+ 5 in London back in March 2019.

Edwards hasn’t forgotten about that incident, but is adamant that Masvidal doesn’t want to fight him.

“After I get the title, I think Masvidal now will have no other excuse,” Edwards said. “He’s made every excuse in the book not to fight me, so I would love to get that one first.”

He continued, “It was discussed a little bit, but he just keeps turning it down. I don’t know what’s wrong with the kid. He talks all this he’s the ‘BMF,’ but he’s always turning fights down. This is a big fight for him, like hype and what happened in the past. So it’s been mentioned, but he just keeps saying no to the fight. You cannot force a man to fight.”

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