With his win over Rafael dos Anjos on Saturday, Leon Edwards now holds the second longest-winning streak in the crowded welterweight division.
Eight straight victories for Edwards puts him behind only current UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (10) and after taking a unanimous nod over dos Anjos in the UFC on ESPN 4 main event Saturday, the 27-year-old Englishman called for a fight with rival Jorge Masvidal.
Edwards and Masvidal have a history dating back to a backstage scuffle at UFC London (the viral “three-piece and a soda” incident) in March and they’ve been at odds ever since. Shortly after Edwards defeated dos Anjos, Masvidal wrote on social media that he has zero interest in meeting Edwards in the Octagon at this time.
While Edwards is still hunting for the Masvidal matchup, he was equally dismissive of his rival’s skills and Masvidal’s recent record-breaking knockout of Ben Askren.
“I believe Masvidal is an amateur,” Edwards told the media backstage Saturday evening (h/t MMA Junkie). “He’s beaten nobody that I can say that he’s amazing. He did a flying knee against Ben. Ben is an amateur, he’s slow, he’s old, he’s a grappler. He’s taken some big confidence from that, I take nothing from it. It’s one of them things I think if they fought 10 out of 10 times, that would never happen again.
“So I believe I’m better than Masvidal anywhere in the fight game and I will get the opportunity to prove it.”
Ideally, Edwards is looking to fight again sometime in October, November, or December. He feels that if he isn’t booked against Masvidal, it makes even less sense for Masvidal to get a title shot over him given that Edwards has the better overall record in recent years. Edwards is 10-1 in his last 11 fights with his only loss coming at the hands of Usman back in December 2015.
Presented with the possibility that Masvidal could move to the front of the contenders’ line if Masvidal’s teammate and friend Colby Covington fails to get past Robbie Lawler in two weeks, Edwards argued that other welterweights are being favored for their outside-of-the-cage antics.
“Who has Masvidal beat?” Edwards asked. “He beat Ben Askren. Ben Askren has fought nobody. He got a close victory against Robbie, apart from that I couldn’t tell you another person that he’s beat that’s a big name. He went to China or wherever it was, stacked up like a 9-0 record and came to the UFC, talked a bunch of shit, then he got to like No. 5 above me, which is weird.
“I’m on an eight-fight win streak now and I’m ranked No. 11 in the world. That’s crazy, that’s second-most to the world champion, that’s madness. That shows that it’s not about the fights, it’s not about technique, it’s not about winning, it’s about just talking trash on social media, that’s what gets you up there. I think I belong in the top-5 at least, if not world title [contention].”
On the flipside, Edwards had nothing but praise for dos Anjos, who he called “one of the best fighters” he’s gone up against so far. “RDA” also had a steady climb to main event status and based on Edwards’s comments, it sounds like he’s aiming to follow a similar path.
“I’m at the point where I could not give a shit no more,” Edwards said when asked if he feels like he’s finally starting to feel respected. “I will do what I need to do. I will believe in myself, I’ll believe in my team, I believe in my country, and I’ll just keep working and keep chipping away. When it comes, it comes. I will not worry about what I cannot control.
“I went through a stage in my career when I was thinking, ‘Why is everyone overlooking me?’ But I’ve been used to that since I was a kid and it’s fine. I keep chipping away, I keep winning, and that’s all I keep doing.”