It’s been only a few hours since Leon Edwards claimed victory over Kamaru Usman in their highly-anticipated trilogy. But already, fans and pundits alike are wondering who will be the next opponent for the surging Englishman.
While Colby Covington’s name was thrown around as a possible contender, it was a tweet from a certain Russian that caught everyone’s attention.
Islam Makhachevtook to Twitter to challenge Edwards to a clash in Abu Dhabi this coming October. It was a bold move from the Dagestan native, who had just defended his title against Alexander Volkanovski in another closely-contested bout.
Leon Edwards has been on a tear lately, winning his last ten in a row. His latest victory over Usman was particularly impressive, as he managed to neutralize the welterweight champion’s takedown attempts and landed some heavy leg kicks throughout the five-round affair.
An event against Makhachev would once again test Edwards’ skills against one of the best in the world. The Russian is known for his grappling prowess and relentless pressure, and Edwards would need to be on top of his game to avoid getting taken down and controlled on the ground.
For Makhachev, a bout against Edwards could be a chance to prove that he’s not just a dominant force in the lightweight division. The Dagestan native has been steamrolling his way through the 155-pound weight class, but there have been whispers that he could eventually move up to welterweight to test his skills against bigger opponents.
He addressed those rumors when he arrived to Dagestan following UFC 284:
A fun fact that’s not general knowledge is that Leon Edwards was the very first guy Makhachev ever sparred at the American Kickboxing Academy when he arrived to the US.
“first time I see the cage, you know, because I never see someone in Dagestan that when we don’t have cage, we just have that mat. And and I asked Khabib please, can you say it?”
“Or however I want to like feel that I want to go inside the cage, like do some rounds there and I will say, yes, but we have one guy in a little bit big and he’s a very good striker. ”
I just say let’s go with the coach say that moment he have very good left like be careful and when we beginning this round I just go to the double leg, pick that moment we started on Edwards. I take him down, but we have very good round with him.”
“And you know why he’s a champion right now? Because he’s a good striker. And that moment he come to improve his wrestling skills. And that’s why I who who want to always improve, who won, who know if you think I’m good everywhere I can do everything you’re not going to.”
Makhachev also previously dismissed Usman KO as a ‘lucky shot’:
“Edwards [got] lucky because [Usman] beat him all five rounds, almost. First round, (Edwards took) him down, took his back, but other rounds (Usman) beat him very easily, took him down many times and smashed him there.” Makhachev said.
Since 2014, Benny A. King has been fully immersed in the world of combat sports. Starting with a blog about Greco Roman wrestling, Benny’s passion for combat sports has led him to explore various disciplines.