“I’ll Step In”: Leon Edwards Responds to Cancellation of UFC 256 Main Event

Published 10/06/2020, 10:10 AM EDT

There are a lot of moving parts to the Welterweight Division and at the top, sits the Nigerian Nightmare Kamaru Usman. When the Champion beat Masvidal at UFC 251 by unanimous decision, one thing was clear; Gilbert Burns would be next on Usman’s list.

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The UFC rescheduled Usman’s next title defense against Burns, and it was to take place in December at UFC 256. However, Ariel Helwani recently broke the news that the fight would not go ahead as planned. No clear date for its rescheduling was given. 

In light of Helwani’s announcement, Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards took to Twitter and wrote,  “I’ll step in vs @GilbertDurinho he was never the real number one contender. see you dec 12”. It is worth mentioning that Edwards was seemingly the #1 contender prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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What went down at Fight Island

The Usman versus Burns fight was originally scheduled for July, but the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into the machinery as Gilbert Burns tested positive for the notorious virus. This resulted in him being removed from the Main Event slot at UFC 251 at Fight Island, Abu Dhabi.

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Jorge Masvidal stepped in on a week’s notice to save the card. Although this brought a huge PPV subscription, the BMF Champion was never able to cause any problems for the Welterweight Champion, Usman.  

What’s next for the contenders of UFC 256?

The move up to Welterweight has been the catalyst for ‘Durinho’, and he has racked up impressive wins against Gunnar Nelson, Demian Maia and former Champion Tyron Woodley. Leon Edwards himself has recently been in stunning form, with his last loss being against the current Champion, Usman, way back in 2015.

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Edwards, also famous for the ‘three piece and a soda’ altercation between him and Jorge Masvidal, has been on the sidelines since the pandemic began. He has been training back home in England, and due to the heavy travel restrictions in place, hasn’t yet been able to fight this year. 

Given that Burns is already the #1 contender for Usman’s title, it is unlikely that he will accept the Leon Edwards fight. However, the unpredictability of the sport and the fact that neither fighter will want to sit on the sidelines for too long, may make this fight materialize. 

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