Leon Edwards closes the door on July return in London, eyes Abu Dhabi card in October

By Lewis Simpson - April 13, 2023

Leon Edwards closed the door on returning on July 22 at the rumoured UFC 291 event in London, England. Instead, the welterweight champion eyes a second title defence in Abu Dhabi in October.

Leon Edwards

Edwards is coming off back-to-back wins against the former pound-for-pound king, Kamaru Usman. The Brit made the first successful defence of his title last month at UFC 286, edging a close majority decision in front of a home crowd in London.

After Colby Covington weighed in as a backup fighter for the UFC 286 headliner, UFC President Dana White confirmed Covington would be the next challenger for welterweight gold and has since doubled down in his statement in multiple interviews.

“Colby Covington deserves this shot at the title.” White said at UFC San Antonio.

The Birmingham local fails to see why the boss is eager to have Covington challenge him next, given his lack of activity in the division and his no notable wins against the elite at welterweight.

Covington’s last outing occurred in March last year when he won a unanimous decision victory over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 272. Still, “Chaos” has disclosed that White has assured him that Edward’s will be stripped if he refuses to sign on the dotted line for the Summer.

Leon Edwards closes door on July return

However, the champion has other ideas and has no desire to compete in July, regardless of what Covington says.

“No [he will not fight at UFC London], unless it comes with some stupid money, the bag always talks,” Leon Edwards told Sky Sports. “Unless the stupid money comes I don’t see it – I’d literally have to get back in training camp next week.”

“I fought under a month ago,” Leon Edwards explained. “March to July, I don’t think [that] makes sense. In the last year or so, I’ve fought three times I think. I’d love to fight now towards the end of the year. The Abu Dhabi card [UFC 294] card would be great. That would be perfect. I get to nurse my injuries, I get time to get back into it. I feel like Abu Dhabi would be perfect.”

Quotes via LowKickMMA

After winning the welterweight title in August of last year at UFC 278, Edwards’s star power has catapulted to new heights. Edwards stunned the world in Salt Lake City when emphatically knocking out Usman in the fifth round after losing most of the contest until then.


Leon Edwards UFC