Leon Edwards confirms to me over text he has been removed from the UFC rankings due to inactivity. #UFC— Cole Shelton (@ColeShelton91) October 22, 2020
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The Ultimate Fighting Championship appears to be playing hardball with top welterweight contender Leon Edwards.
The UFC still has multiple fighters that last competed longer ago than Edwards on the rankings, including light heavyweight Thiago Santos, featherweight Ryan Hall and women’s strawweight Nina Ansaroff. In order to be removed from the official Sherdog rankings under Sherdog’s inactivity provision, Edwards would need to be away from the sport with no fight booked until January 2021.
ESPN has since released a series of failed negotiations between the UFC and Edwards. The UFC pushed for Edwards to rematch Kamaru Usman for the title in July on short notice, but that fell through. Edwards was then looked at as a replacement option in the Colby Covington-Woodley fight in September, but that bout went ahead as scheduled. The UFC subsequently attempted to book Edwards against Geoff Neal and Khamzat Chimaev on the Dec. 19 card, but Edwards did not sign for either.
According to ESPN, once Edwards declined to take Chimaev fight – Chimaev is currently unranked with a single win in the UFC at welterweight against a debuting Rhys McKee, and placed as the #148 welterweight on the FightMatrix algorithm compared to its #6 Edwards – the UFC pulled his place on the rankings. Edwards has not been released from the promotion.
The 170-pound contender last set foot inside the Octagon in July 2019, where he outworked former lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos over five rounds to take a clear-cut decision. Dating back to 2015, Edwards has lost exactly one fight – to current champ Usman – while winning 10. On his active win streak, Edwards has racked up a pair third-round finishes, including punching out Peter Sobotta at 4:59 of the Round 3 to record the latest finish in any UFC non-title welterweight match.
I'm still in the rankings. Fuck all the inactivity, the only reason I havent fought is because all these so called top guys turned me down.— Leon 'Rocky' Edwards (@Leon_edwardsmma) October 22, 2020
Khamzat want to fight then?
Since this news broke, Edwards has taken to Twitter to claim that he is still a ranked fighter, while also remarking that top-ranked opponents have turned down fights with him. He then called out Chimaev to fight, and the latter responded shortly thereafter.
"I'm still in the rankings," Edwards wrote. "F--- all the inactivity, the only reason I haven't fought is because all these so called top guys turned me down. Khamzat want to fight then?"
I’m always ready to fight. Let’s go. Rock'n'roll baby— Khamzat Chimaev (@KChimaev) October 22, 2020
Chimaev replied minutes later, "I'm always ready to fight. Let's go. Rock'n'roll baby."