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Leon Edwards Should Not Go for UFC MW Title Just Yet After Colby Covington Fight at UFC 296

Published 11/15/2023, 7:36 AM EST

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Leon Edwards is gearing up for his next title defense against Colby Covington at UFC 296. Meanwhile, he recently mentioned his interest in going for the middleweight title after his fight against ‘Chaos’. But we have a few reasons to believe why he should not jump to the 185lbs division just yet.

After Conor McGregor became the first-ever simultaneous UFC double champion, it inspired many more fighters to go for the same feat. So far, only nine fighters have been able to win gold in two divisions, and only four held two belts at the same time. And recently Leon Edwards mentioned his urge to follow suit. However, it might be a while before we see ‘Rocky’ jump to the middleweight division. Let us take a look at a few reasons why.

Leon Edwards has a lot of worthy opponents in the welterweight division

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There is no doubt that Leon Edwards has fought some of the biggest names in the welterweight division. He has fought the likes of Kamaru Usman, Nate Diaz, Rafael dos Anjos, and Donald Cerrone, just to name a few. However, there is a new generation of welterweight fighters who have made a lot of impact in the UFC.

via Getty

One of the biggest welterweight prospects in the UFC right now is Ian Garry. The undefeated Irish fighter is on a roll with a 6-fight winning streak in Dana White‘s promotion. Garry, who’s nicknamed ‘The Future’, is also eyeing to become the UFC’s next big megastar and carry on Conor McGregor’s legacy.

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Another welterweight contender, who’s rapidly rising in the welterweight rankings, is Shavkat Rakhmonov. The Kazakh fighter is also an undefeated prospect with a 5-0 record in the UFC. Furthermore, Rakhmonov has finished all his opponents inside the Octagon till now and is yet to register a win by decision. While there are many other contenders in the welterweight division, Garry and Rakhmonov have stood out as of late. Now, let’s take a look at yet another reason why a move to the middleweight division may not be a wise decision for Leon Edwards.

‘Rocky’ would have a tough time with bigger fighters in the middleweight division

Several fighters have shown their MMA prowess after moving from a lower weight class to a higher one. However, as we move up the weight class, we find fighters having much bigger physiques. Some of the best examples of big-stature middleweight fighters are Alex Pereira (now in the light heavyweight division), Khamzat Chimaev, Paulo Costa, and Israel Adesanya, to name a few. This could prove to be a big problem for Leon Edwards.

via Imago

‘Rocky’ has primarily fought as a welterweight for most of his professional fighting career. As such, making a jump to the 185lbs division and expecting to perform with the same flair he had as a 170lbs fighter could be a tough ask. Moreover, the middleweight title contender Dricus du Plessis recently took shots at Edwards’s wish to move to his division. ‘Stillknocks’ claimed that ‘Rocky’ was just too small to compete against the likes of him and others in the division. Now, let us look at the final reason why Leon Edwards should continue his journey as a welterweight.

Leon Edwards is on a welterweight run of a lifetime

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The reigning welterweight champion is on a great run in the UFC. He has lost only twice in Dana White’s promotion and is currently sitting on an 11-fight winning streak, which started in 2015. While fighters like Georges St-Pierre, Kamaru Usman, and Matt Hughes have etched their names as some of the greatest welterweight fighters the sport of MMA has ever seen, there is a chance that “Rocky’ will join them soon.

via Imago

Leon Edwards is 32-years-old now. There are a few more years for him to possibly fight at the peak of his capabilities. Moreover, Edwards needs four more fights to overtake his former rival Kamaru Usman and grab the record for the most consecutive wins in welterweight history. As such, this is one of the biggest reasons why a move to middleweight may not be the right choice.

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Leon Edwards has fought as a middleweight once in his career before joining the UFC. But that may not be enough to suffice the fact that he can fare well against some of the greatest fighters in the UFC’s 185lbs division. Similarly, former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman recently made the jump to middleweight at UFC 294 but did not get the win. It remains to be seen what Edwards decides to do after UFC 296.

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Written by:

Himanga Mahanta

1,924Articles

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I am a UFC writer at EssentiallySports, and my passion for MMA and a deep understanding of its intricacies have allowed me to churn out more than 1000 articles. I have covered numerous UFC events and fighters, with the aim of bringing my readers closer to the action and the athletes they admire. I have developed a knack for providing analytical coverage of breaking stories from the world of MMA.
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Edited by:

Yeswanth Praveen