A lot of things have happened for Leon Edwards last year due to the pandemic. He was supposedly scheduled to main-event in his home country but was canceled due to the country’s lockdown. It was supposed to be the first time that Edwards put on a show to his countrymen but failed, had he been successful and beat Woodley. He could be in the title contention.
He eventually accepted a fight on 19 December with UFC’s breakout star Khamzat Chimaev but pulled out due to testing positive for COVID. Most would agree that no fighter has had a worse impact from the pandemic than Edwards but he still showed positivity by saying that he is coming back stronger.
Now that he has recovered from COVID, the UFC rebooked the fight for 20 January, both fighters were scheduled to be the main event. On 29 December Chimaev, this time pulled out of the scheduled bout due to COVID recovery. The fight was then scrapped once more.
Leon Edwards was still willing to fight a different opponent but UFC denied his offer. The UFC is still willing to rebook Chimaev vs Edwards for the third time.
Edwards vs. Chimaev is still in the plans 👀
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) January 11, 2021
There is no denying that the UFC has taken a liking to Khamzat Chimaev, as they have given him a fast-tracked to a top 5 contender. If he beats him, he would fight for the title very soon.
Chimaev is indeed special but the UFC is taking a huge risk in letting him fight a top 5 contender for his fourth match considering none of his past opponents are near to what Edwards current rank. It is also worth noting that Edwards has nothing to gain if he wins, he will likely be ranked the same.