White has verified on several occasions that “Chaos” will fight 170-pound king Leon Edwards later this year. And during the UFC 288 pre-fight conference on Thursday, White revealed that Saturday night’s victor will get “100 percent” get a crack at gold.
“You look at these two guys, where they sit in the rankings, to come out and risk everything the way that they are so that they can be in line for a title shot is huge,” White then said to The Schmo after the presser. “And I love guys like this. Both these guys are savages.”
The five-round co-headliner came together with only a few weeks’ notice after the original fight slated for the spot, the lightweight spectacle between ex-champion Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush, was postponed to UFC 289 next month.
Muhammad currently sits at No. 4 in the official UFC 170-pound standings, and Burns holds the No. 5 spot. A win would undoubtedly solidify either man’s claim for a championship tilt considering No. 3 Khamzat Chimaev is presumably moving to middleweight and No. 1 Kamaru Usman is coming off back-to-back losses to Edwards.
Edwards Won’t Be Ready to Fight Until Until the Fall
The UFC is heading back to London, England, in July. However, Edwards won’t be headlining the event in front of his countrymen. But, “Rocky” told MMA Fighting in a recent interview that the summer is “too soon” for him to make his return considering he defended his belt against Usman in March.
“July is 100-percent too soon,” Edwards said. “I fought in March, just under a month ago, and I’m still dealing with injuries and stuff that I had to deal with before I even consider getting back into a training camp. If I’m fighting in July, that means I’m going back into training camp next week, and that’s just not possible.
“I will look toward the back end of the year. I would love to do Abu Dhabi in October. I think that would be a great time frame for me to compete, but there’s actually no clear No. 1 contender. There’s no one actually out there that’s actually earned it. There’s guys coming off two losses, one win. There’s guys that [have] one win, one loss. It’s a difficult time in the welterweight division. So now I’ve just got to look towards business. I will sit back, talk to the UFC, talk to my team and see what’s best.”
White Isn’t Sure Where & When Edwards vs. Covington Will Take Place
While speaking with The Schmo, the UFC president confirmed the fight was off the table for the July 22 Fight Night event across the pond. In fact, White isn’t sure when the welterweight battle will go down.
“I don’t know where it’s going to be,” White said. “Obviously, it’s insane for us not to do that fight in London, but I don’t know how this whole thing is going to play out. That’s why we were going back to London with this fight until it fell apart. We’ll see — I’ll have to deal with that as we get closer to it.”