Following uber-prospect, Khamzat Chimaev’s withdrawal from a UFC Vegas 21 headliner on March 13th. against Leon Edwards, the promotion is now reportedly exploring the possibility of pairing Edwards with former interim welterweight champion, Colby Covington.
Swedish-born talent, Chimaev was scheduled to headline the UFC Apex facility event against surging Birmingham contender, Edwards on March 13th. — however, lingering physical issues amid a positive COVID-19 test result late last year has forced the Chechen to withdraw from the clash for the second time in the space of a month.
Whilst announcing his intentions to remain on the card in the hope of making the Octagon walk for the first time since July of 2019 where he knocked back former lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos via a unanimous decision — Edwards, per her manager, Tim Simpson detailed how he would be open to bouts alongside rival, Jorge Masvidal, the returning, Nate Diaz, and the brash Covington.
Doubling-down on calls for a matchup with Stockton favourite, Diaz, Team Renegade BJJ & MMA mainstay, Edwards cited the Californian’s recent sitdown with ESPN MMA reporter, Ariel Helwani, where he noted his intentions to return at the welterweight limit of 170-pounds. And if that return comes to fruition, Edwards is ready to offer up both his eight-fight winning-spree, as well as his #3 rank in the division.
However, a potential pairing with Diaz may be put on the backburner for the time being. According to promotional president, Dana White who spoke with assembled media ahead of UFC 258 this weekend — he explained how the organization are currently in discussion with both Covington and Edwards regarding a potential showdown. Whilst hopeful of landing the matchup on the March 13th. UFC Vegas 21 event, White had claimed that talks were only preliminary at this time. (H/T Brett Okamoto)
Birmingham native, Edwards scored his eighth successive victory of his current run against Niteroi native, dos Anjos — adding the Brazilian veteran to prior wins over Gunnar Nelson, Vicente Luque, and Donald Cerrone.
Rebounding from his UFC 245 championship challenge loss to this weekend’s UFC 258 headliner, Kamaru Usman, the outspoken Covington took home a one-sided, fifth-round TKO victory over former champion, Tyron Woodley after the St. Louis native suffered a rib injury.
Constantly linked with a grudge-match against former American Top Team teammate, Jorge Masvidal ever since then, the pairing has failed to come to fruition, with the promotion now seemingly attempting to look beyond that matchup in favour of a bout involving Covington and Edwards.