Leon Edwards claims he wanted to fight Michael Chiesa or Neil Magny on January 20, and then Khamzat Chimaev immediately after, but the UFC wasn’t on board.
Edwards was originally scheduled to fight Chimaev in the main event of the January 20 card, which will go down on Fight Island. Regrettably, Chimaev was forced out of the matchup due to lingering health issues stemming from a COVID-19 infection.
When Chimaev withdrew from the fight, Edwards made it crystal clear that he wanted to stay on the January 20 card and fight a new opponent—specifically, Magny and Chiesa, who are booked to meet on the card.
Apparently, he expressed this desire to the UFC, and even offered to fight Chimaev immediately thereafter, but was ultimately denied by the promotion.
Edwards gave his side of the story on Instagram this week.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) January 4, 2021
“I offered to fight Neil or Chiesa in the main event on January 20, and Chimaev straight after, but the UFC decided against it,” Edwards wrote.
Edwards’ desire to remain on this January 20 card is certainly understandable, as he’s been out of action since July of 2019—though that’s certainly not his fault.
The streaking welterweight, who currently holds the No. 3 spot in the division’s rankings, was expected to return to the Octagon against former champion Tyron Woodley in the main event of a fight card in London, England, earlier this year. Regrettably, that plan was foiled due to the early travel restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic. Woodley went on to fight and lose to Gilbert Burns, and Edwards remained on the sidelines.
Edwards was then booked to fight Chimaev in December, but was forced out of the fight with his own bout of COVID-19. The bout was later rescheduled for January 20.
Do you think the UFC should have allowed Leon Edwards to remain on the January 20 against a new opponent? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.