Despite being the No. 3-ranked Welterweight contender and currently riding an eight-fight win streak, British fighter Leon Edwards (18-3) has almost become invisible for fans and match-makers. So, how did Edwards land in this position... and how can Khamzat Chimaev help him out?
Edwards dominated his last fight against Rafael dos Anjos and claimed a unanimous decision victory in July 2019. Unfortunately, "Rocky" has not fought since then. He was scheduled to fight former Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley earlier this year, but that bout fell apart due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Leon Edwards can steal Khamzat Chimaev's hype
Leon Edwards has no opponent scheduled for now and is turning down fighters that are ranked below him. Well, he can either wait for his title shot and hope to get it soon, or risk his chances and get some momentum going.
Since Khamzat Chimaev (9-0) - UFC's biggest hype train in 2020 — has been calling out everybody from 170 lb to 265 lb, Edwards now has the perfect opportunity to step up and deliver. Should he beat Chimaev, who is in the early stages of his MMA career, Edwards will not advance in the rankings. However, he will gain hype for a title shot.
Edwards has the opportunity to do what Floyd Mayweather previously did to Canelo Alvarez. He can catch Chimaev off guard during the early stages of the Swedish fighter's career.
The match-up will also help him prepare for Kamaru Usman, who is predominantly a wrestler and already has a win over Edwards, if Usman retains his belt until then.
Khamzat Chimaev can break Leon Edwards
While the rewards seems enticing for Leon Edwards, the risks are also huge. Khamzat Chimaev is a puzzle that has not revealed himself completely, and that makes him dangerous.
After his first two fights in the UFC, many considered him to be a wrestler like Khabib Nurmagomedov. However, Khamzat changed everybody's perception when he knocked out Gerald Meerschaert in 17 seconds at UFC Fight Night: Covington vs. Woodley.
Besides that, Leon Edwards has struggled with Kamaru Usman before, and Khamzat can pose a similar threat. As of now, there isn't much data on Khamzat to study his game, which could prove fatal for Edwards.
If the British fighter loses a bout to Khamzat, he will also lose his No. 3 rank and will then have to fight a couple more times before getting the title shot.Published 13 Oct 2020, 00:54 IST