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Who Got Next? Edwards Has a Wealth of Options

Counting Welterweight Champions Best Potential Opponents

After having a tough time getting matchups, Leon Edwards won’t have that issue now. In fact, the new UFC welterweight champion has a good problem to have: Who will he fight next? As the champ, Edwards gets a lot more say on which opponent he gets inside the octagon. With no fights booked yet, we can already find UFC betting lines on Edwards’ potential matchups.

Ranking Edwards’ Best Potential Matchups

5. Covington

Colby Covington is the best-ranked opponent Edwards could fight outside of Kamaru Usman. The over-the-top contender has become a victim of his own success and is sitting in purgatory right now. Dana White has commented on finding him a fight, in which he should be favored.

Who Got Next? Edwards Has A Wealth of Options as Champ
Alex Goodlett/Getty Images/AFP

But Covington fans should be ecstatic as the two-time title challenger could get a third crack at the belt and have a potentially better chance at winning the belt. However, there is no history between him and Edwards and as far as his drawing power, a certain Irishman outranks him.

4. McGregor

We’re all sick of hearing his name, but Conor McGregor will always be relevant to the UFC. The former two-division champion is consistently posting nonsense on social media while recovering from his broken leg. He’s been linked to guys like Jake Paul and Charles Oliveira, but a showdown with “Rocky” in the U.K., close to his native Ireland, would be bonkers.

McGregor won’t even need to beat a ranked 170-pounder at this point. He can skip the line even if his only wins in the division have been against a fading Donald Cerrone and Nate Diaz. Star power talks and nobody in the UFC has it more than McGregor.

3. Usman Trilogy

An immediate rematch seems like the most conventional path for Edwards. After all, Usman was beating Edwards until that head kick. The online sports betting odds favor Kamaru Usman almost as much as they did in the second fight. While Usman does deserve this rematch, he may take a while to return.

Edwards is on a roll and while his star is burning bright, it’s time to book him a fight. Booking him in a trilogy against Usman one year down the road could halt his momentum. As a result, we can’t advocate this match, at least not as Edwards’ best option right now.

2. Masvidal

We were this close to ranking this fight as the UFC’s best bet for Edwards. There is so much to unpack here, with the most obvious being a chance for Edwards to redeem himself. Jorge Masvidal hit Edwards with the iconic “three-piece and a soda” last time Edwards fought in the U.K. The two have since been linked to fight each other but nothing has come to fruition.

Edwards is now the champion while Masvidal is on a three-fight losing skid while facing assault charges. The Jamaican-born Briton will easily be a large favorite if this fight were to happen. However, Masvidal’s status is up in the air as he is likely to face legal consequences for his cheap shot on Covington.

1. Winner of Chimaev vs Diaz

Unquestionably, the fight to make for Edwards is the winner of Chimaev-Diaz’s bout later this September. It aligns timeline-wise and Edwards has a history with both men. If it’s the former, Edwards has been booked to fight Chimaev three times, but it all fell through. Now, Edwards is still considered the significant underdog even as the champ.

Khamzat Chimaev has run roughshod over the division and not even the third-ranked Gilbert Burns could stop him. He should dispatch Diaz, as his inflated betting lines foreshadow. However, the Stockton, Calif., native could come through as an underdog.

Nate Diaz remains one of the UFC’s biggest stars and commands plenty of bets online. He has one win in the last six years and Edwards beat him pillar-to-post in their match a year ago. However, Diaz had the biggest moment in that fight as he wobbled Edwards. A rematch between the two, as unlikely as it is to happen, would be a blockbuster event.

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