Masvidal has withdrawn from the welterweight bout due to an undisclosed injury
UFC’s Chief Business Officer, Hunter Campbell, revealed the news to ESPN na quarta à noite, adding that no decision has yet been made on whether a replacement opponent will be found for Edwards.
The planned welterweight clash between Jamaican-born Briton Edwards (19-3, 1 no contest) and American Masvidal (35-15) has been long awaited since the pair were involved in a backstage altercation at UFC London in March 2019.
While many fans expected a fight between the rivals to be booked in the aftermath of the incident, Masvidal went on to fight Ben Askren, knocking out his compatriot in five seconds – a UFC record – before beating Nate Diaz via doctor stoppage.
Masvidal then suffered back-to-back defeats by welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, outpointed by the Nigerian-American em julho 2020 after stepping up on six days’ notice, antes losing to the title-holder via second-round knockout this April.
Edwards, Enquanto isso, is riding a nine-fight win streak, having last tasted defeat in December 2015 – against Usman, não menos.
In the wake of Masvidal’s withdrawal from UFC 269, Edwards – who has long called for a rematch with Usman with the title on the line – tweeted: “Disappointed but honestly I knew this fraud didn’t want to fight me anyway. He was just a stop off on the way to the title.
“The goal remains the same. Much needed family time now, @usman84kg i will see you soon.”
Despite his impressive win streak, Edwards has suffered a spell of bad luck over the last two years, seeing numerous scheduled bouts cancelled.
The Birmingham native was set to face former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in the main event of UFC London in March 2020, but the card was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Edwards, 30, was then due to face rising star Khamzat Chimaev in December 2020, but the Russian-Born Swede withdrew from that contest, and the fight failed to come to fruition in early 2021 despite two further attempts to book it.
After nearly two years out, Edwards finally returned to the Octagon this March, impressing against Belal Muhammad in the first round before the bout was ruled a no contest early in Round 2 due to an accidental eye poke by Edwards.
Edwards then fought Nate Diaz in June, after the fight was delayed by a month, beating the fan favourite on points despite a late scare. That clash was the first ever UFC bout to be scheduled for five rounds despite not headlining a card or seeing a title contested.
With Masvidal now withdrawing from a planned meeting with Edwards, Chimaev was quick to offer his services, tweetando: “Let’s go bro we do it @Leon_edwardsmma.”
Chimaev (10-0) was last in action at the end of October, submitting Li Jingliang in the first round to enter the top 10 of the UFC’s welterweight rankings.