Streaking UFC welterweight contender Leon Edwards has been removed from the promotion’s official rankings.
Edwards is currently on an eight-fight win-streak in the perilous UFC welterweight division, highlighted by victories over the likes of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Gunnar Nelson and Rafael dos Anjos. However, the Birmingham native has not fought since July 2019.
That prolonged hiatus is hardly his fault. Edwards was scheduled to take on former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in London in May, but the bout fell through due to travel restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic. Woodley was subsequently matched up with Gilbert Burns, and lost by unanimous decision.
Despite the fact that Edwards’ absence from the cage is due primarily to issues outside his control, he has been removed from the promotion’s welterweight rankings.
Take this for what you will. I had a few people point out on my Livestream this morning that on the UFC’s website, Leon Edwards appears to still be ranked #3. But on their mobile app, he’s been removed and Belal Muhammad is ranked #15 instead 🤔 pic.twitter.com/u2R70kiYbG
— James Lynch (@LynchOnSports) October 22, 2020
BJPenn.com can confirm that the Brit’s exit is a result of his prolonged inactivity.
In theory, it certainly makes sense to remove inactive fighters from their divisional rankings. However, the UFC is extremely inconsistent when it comes to doing so. For example, UFC featherweight contender Brian Ortega recently went almost two years without fighting, but never lost his spot in his division’s rankings.
The implication then—and something many fight fans on social media are already speculating—is that the UFC could be attempting to strong-arm Edwards, depriving him of some of his negotiating power by removing his ranking.
Of course, anyone with a brain recognizes that, whether he has a ranking beside his name or not, Edwards is one of the very best welterweights in the world and is deserving of big-name opponent in his next fight—if not a title shot outright.