Number three ranked UFC Welterweight Leon Edwards had to pull out of his December 19th main event fight against Khamzat Chimaev due to COVID-19. There have been numerous main events scrapped in the UFC in recent months due to COVID-19, and the most recent example was the last-minute cancelation of Curtis Blaydes vs. Derrick Lewis.
According to Brett Okamoto of ESPN, UFC is looking to re-book Leon Edwards vs. Khamzat Chimaev for January:
Leon Edwards' case of COVID-19 is worse than most, and Okamoto put out a tweet describing it as severe. Okamoto also stated that Leon Edwards lost 12 pounds in four days due to the virus.
It's an unfortunate situation to be in, and even Leon Edwards' opponent Khamzat Chimaev wished him a speedy recovery. While a lot of UFC fighters have tested positive for COVID-19 since April, this appears to be the worst case yet. It could put the possibility of re-booking the bout to January in question.
Will the UFC move on from Leon Edwards to get Khamzat Chimaev ahead?
The UFC is in a tricky situation now. If Leon Edwards' case of COVID-19 is, in fact, severe, then it will be a year-and-a-half since the British Welterweight last stepped inside the Octagon.
Khamzat Chimaev has been incredibly active since his debut in July, fighting three times in two months. He ran through unranked opponents to enter the Welterweight rankings at #15.
Leon Edwards is the best possible opponent to get Khamzat Chimaev, but the fact that he has remained so active has kept him relevant in the eyes of UFC fans. If Chimaev waits it out and faces Leon Edwards, a win could skyrocket him into the top five rankings.
Since Stephen Thompson vs. Geoff Neal is the new December 19th main event, there's a higher chance of Khamzat Chimaev waiting for Leon Edwards.