Leon Edwards blasts 'fraud' Jorge Masvidal for withdrawal and targets Kamaru Usman

Long-time rivals were scheduled to go head-to-head at UFC 269 next month

Leon Edwards has labelled Jorge Masvidal a “fraud” after the former title challenger withdrew from next month's highly anticipated bout at UFC 269.

The long-time rivals were set to face off on December 11 in Las Vegas, but ESPN reported on Thursday that the fight had been cancelled. Masvidal is believed to have suffered an undisclosed injury during his training camp.

The UFC have yet to confirm if Edwards would remain on the UFC 269 card, although the No 3-ranked welterweight contender, unbeaten in his past 10 bouts, appears content to wait for the opportunity to rematch current champion Kamaru Usman sometime next year.

“Disappointed but honestly I knew this fraud didn’t want to fight me anyway,” Edwards wrote on Twitter. “He was just a stop off on the way to the title. The goal remains the same. Much-needed family time now. [Kamaru Usman], I will see you soon.”

Should Edwards decide not to wait, he looks to have no shortage of willing opponents. Following the news Masvidal had pulled out, Khamzat Chimaev, Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad all flocked to social media to declare their interest in stepping in.

Edwards (19-3) has nine wins and one no contest in his past 10 UFC appearances, and has not tasted defeat since his clash with Usman in December 2015, where he lost by unanimous decision. The champion, ranked at present as the sport’s pound-for-pound No 1, is coming off Sunday’s unanimous decision win against Colby Covington at UFC 268. It marked Usman’s fifth-straight title defence.

Edwards’ rivalry with Masvidal fight dates back to March 2019, when the pair were involved in a backstage altercation following a UFC event in London. Both fighters had picked up wins that night.

UFC 269, staged at T-Mobile Arena, is headlined by lightweight champion Charles Oliveira’s title defence against Dustin Poirier, with Amanda Nunes defending her bantamweight belt against Julianna Pena.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JULY 12: (R-L) Jorge Masvidal punches Kamaru Usman of Nigeria in their UFC welterweight championship fight during the UFC 251 event at Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 12, 2020 on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC) *** Local Caption *** ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JULY 12: (R-L) Jorge Masvidal punches Kamaru Usman of Nigeria in their UFC welterweight championship fight during the UFC 251 event at Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 12, 2020 on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Updated: November 11th 2021, 7:02 AM
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