Britain’s Leon Edwards is next in line to fight champion Kamaru Usman for the welterweight title, says UFC president Dana White.
Edwards, 30, has not lost in 10 fights and is number three in the rankings.
contender Colby Covington, who lost to Usman in November, has agreed to fight Jorge Masvidal in March.
Asked if Edwards would be next to fight for the title, White told TSN: “100%. That kid’s had a rough run and he deserves it.”
Edwards has been calling for a title shot for the past two years, but Masvidal, Covington and Gilbert Burns have had opportunities ahead of him.
Burns was the number one contender when he fought and lost in February, while Covington and Masvidal are two of the biggest stars in the division.
White said: “If you look at it, Colby lost to [Usman] twice, Gilbert lost. Leon’s next. He’s number three.”
Masvidal and Covington are scheduled to fight at UFC 272, an agreement which paved the way for Edwards to take on Usman in a rematch. Edwards lost to Usman in 2015.
White said Edwards was one of the few fighters prepared to face rising star Khamzat Chimaev.
They were booked to fight in January 2020 before Chimaev contracted Covid-19.
“We were in a matchmaking meeting on Tuesday and I’m always saying nobody wants to fight [Chimaev],” said White.
“Leon Edwards signed the bout agreement to fight him and I think he was ranked number three at the time.
“I just wanted to make that clear publicly, he absolutely stepped up to fight him. Signed the bout agreement. I never gave the kid credit for that.”