Edwards is set to make his first title defense since winning the belt in August. He dethroned Kamaru Usman with a fifth-round head kick at UFC 278, and the two will compete in a trilogy match as the UFC 286 headliner on March 18 in London, England.
The Englishman was recently a guest on former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping’s “Believe You Me” podcast. And during their conversation, Bisping asked for Edward’s take on Masvidal. The two have a longstanding rivalry that stems from when Masvidal punched Edwards multiple times during a verbal altercation at a UFC London event in 2019.
In short, Edwards wants to settle their beef inside the Octagon. He said he’s “rooting” for Masvidal to end his three-fight losing streak so that a bout between can “make sense.”
“I don’t like him that much,” Edwards said. “Now, I’m rooting for him to win so I can fight him. You know, he just keeps losing so it’s hard to make the fight make sense. I even said if he went out there and fought like in December, January, like Gilbert [Burns] or somebody, beat one of them, then I’ll fight you in March. And then get Usman in the Summer or something. Let him rest his hands a bit then I’ll fight you in March. But, he didn’t even do that.
“We’ll see. Like I said, skillset-wise, it’s two different levels. His career is doing that, mine’s doing this. It’s hard to make the fight make sense right now. But that’s a fight I need to happen and want to happen.”
Masvidal hasn’t won since 2019. He fought Usman for the 170-pound strap in 2020 and 2021, and he lost both matches, first by unanimous decision and second by KO. His last bout took place in March 2022 when he battled Colby Covington and was defeated via unanimous decision.
Edwards Took Usman’s Belt in a Come-From-Behind Victory
Usman looked to make his sixth title defense in Salt Lake City, Utah, by ending Edward’s 10-fight unbeaten streak. “The Nigerian Nightmare” entered the scrap as the favorite, and although Edwards won the first round, Usman was on his way to securing the victory via unanimous decision.
But, as history has it, Edwards earned a spectacular come-from-behind title win. He blasted Usman with a head kick at 4:05 of the final frame, knocking out the champion and taking his strap.
Edwards Said Altitude Played ‘Big Part’ in Second Fight With Usman, Expects Trilogy to Be Different
When speaking with Bisping, Edwards admitted Salt Lake City’s altitude played a role in his diminished performance throughout rounds two to four. And he believes fighting on home soil will be the difference-maker.
“It would be a totally different fight,” Edwards said. “I’ve said it, my coaches said it. I knew going into the fight that altitude was going to play a part — but I didn’t think it would play that big of a part. I think now, I’ve never lost in the UK, amateur or pro.
“So, I’m excited. I love fighting in front of my friends and my family. I think it’ll be a totally different fight. So, I think if he goes in there thinking it’s going to be the same fight, he’s in for a rude awakening.”