Jorge Masvidal targets fall UFC return, says Leon Edwards ‘not a fighter’

·3 min read

Jorge Masvidal knows when he wants to get back in the octagon, he’s just not sure who the opponent will be.

Less than two months removed from falling short of the welterweight title in his rematch with Kamaru Usman at UFC 261, Masvidal (35-15 MMA, 12-8 UFC) is ready to turn the page and get back to work. He expects to fight before the end of the year, but isn’t quite sure who will be on the other side of the cage.

During a media scrum ahead of promoting his own Gamebred Fighting Championship bare knuckle MMA card, which is set to take place Friday in Biloxi, Miss., Masvidal was asked about Leon Edwards, Nate Diaz and Nick Diaz as potential matchups.

“All of the above,” Masvidal told reporters, including TheMacLife. “Whoever is available in October, November when I’m coming back, that’s whose head is coming off.”

Masvidal indicated he would like a highly ranked opponent in the 170-pound division, and among the names mentioned, Edwards (18-3 MMA, 10-2 UFC) is the only fighter who fits the bill. “Rocky” is coming off a unanimous decision win over Nate Diaz at UFC 263 this past weekend, extending his unbeaten streak to 10 fights.

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Although Edwards has been pushing for a title shot, UFC president Dana White has said repeatedly that he’s not next in line for champion Kamaru Usman, and it’ll be Colby Covington on deck for the belt. That generated discussion about whether Edwards and Masvidal should settle their score in the meantime.

Edwards and Masvidal clashed backstage at a UFC event in London in March 2019. After both won their fights, they got into a physical altercation that saw Masvidal punch Edwards multiple times in the well-documented “three piece and.a soda” incident.

A bout between them has seemed inevitable since, but Masvidal doesn’t appear thrilled about it. He gave Edwards respect as a talented competitor, but thinks his win over Diaz showed a lack of killer instinct, and that’s not the type of fighter Masvidal enjoys. Still, though, he left the door open as a possibility if the timing aligns.

“It was a good performance by (Edwards and Diaz),” Masvidal said. “Leon did what he does. He keeps asking for more money and more things, but he’s not a finisher, he’s not a fighter. He was winning happily and he wasn’t willing to put himself at risk to go out there and get those finishes, that’s why I don’t think he’s in the position he wants to be. He’s not going out there and fighting every second of every minute. He’s a very skilled guy, but he just doesn’t have that grit in him, that meanness to go out there and beat a top contender the way he should.”

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