The UFC postponed three events during March and April due to the coronavirus pandemic. UFC on ESPN+ 29 (London) on March 21, UFC on ESPN 8 (Columbus) on March 28 and UFC on ESPN+ 30 (Portland) on April 11 were all pushed back due to safety concerns over the ongoing crisis, causing more than 30 matchups to fall apart.
Out of all the athletes who lost out on the chance to compete, though, which one got the worst end of the situation? MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn, John Morgan and Nolan King give their opinion on the latest edition of Triple Take.
Mike Bohn: Leon Edwards loses
Even if the UFC opts to rebook the Leon Edwards vs. former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley fight that was originally planned as the UFC London main event, it seems unlikely the circumstances would be replicated. It was the perfect scenario for “Rocky,” who needed an eight-fight winning streak just to get to this opportunity. But now it’s hard to push away the feeling that disappointment is headed his way.
Edwards only got the matchup with Woodley after a lot of headache. Woodley did not want the fight from the outset, and said as much publicly. He wanted a bigger name and a bigger fight, but with the way the matchups unfolded at the top of the welterweight division, Edwards was the only logical option for “The Chosen One” after being out since March 2019, when he lost UFC gold to Kamaru Usman.
It was only a matter of hours from the time the fight was called off for Colby Covington to slide into the picture. He offered to step in as a replacement against Woodley, but it never came close to reality because the UFC ultimately had to scratch the event altogether. Since then, though, Woodley has been beating the drum to fight Covington next, and has all but pushed Edwards’ name to the wayside.
The UFC will ultimately decide who it decides to offer Woodley next, but even if it’s Edwards again, the moment in time can’t be recaptured.
Edwards was not only about to get the biggest fight of his life, but he was going to get it on home soil. Headlining a combat sports card at the famous O2 Arena in London is a dream scenario for any Brit fighter, and Edwards was about to get that. Considering the UFC only goes to London once a year, the odds of Edwards landing that same venue are slim to none.
The timing of the fight was also in Edwards’ favor. With welterweight champ Usman likely to make his next defense in the summer, a victory for Edwards would have put him in position to either serve as a title-fight back-up, or challenge the winner. But now Edwards is the odd man out, and it’s entirely possible he loses a deserved opportunity because this single fight fell apart.
Next page: John Morgan: Shahbazyan’s breakout moment missed
Original article: https://mmajunkie.usatoday.com/2020/03/triple-take-which-fighter-loses-out-most-from-ufc-postponing-three-cards/