If a fight between heated rivals Leon Edwards and Jorge Masvidal ever comes to fruition, UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker believes “Gamebred” would leave the octagon victorious, despite being impressed by Edwards’ most recent victory over Rafael dos Anjos at UFC on ESPN 4.
The rivalry between Edwards and Masvidal began at UFC Fight Night 147 in London earlier this year. Following the event, where both men were victorious, the two welterweight contenders were involved in an altercation in which Masvidal landed several punches on the Birmingham-based fighter.
Following Edwards’ decision victory over dos Anjos in the card’s main event, “Rocky” used his post-fight interview to call out Masvidal. Edwards said, “there’s a little weasel called Jorge Masvidal: accept the fight and let’s do it; you’re not on my level.”
Masvidal responded with several tweets, brushing off Edwards call-out and claiming that he has been promised a title shot.
So I can be clear I was promised a title shot after I beat askren and I plan on cashing in on it. Don’t call me out no more until I get that belt #supernecessary
— Jorge Masvidal UFC (@GamebredFighter) July 21, 2019
Since Edwards’ victory, fans have considered who would be victorious between the highlight-reel knockout artist and the elite technician. On the most recent episode of his show Grange TV, Robert Whittaker stated that while he was thoroughly impressed by Edwards’ performance, Masvidal’s ability to get inside and hurt his opponents would prove a decisive factor.
“Edwards’ striking was very crisp, his grappling is very good, and his clinch work is amazing; he fought very, very well. But Masvidal is really good at getting in and making you pay; he’s a great striker and he’s got that unorthodox style where his angles aren’t normal angles. He can come in and attack you from weird angles.”
“I would have to lean towards Masvidal, but I wouldn’t count Edwards out. I think that’s going to be a hard fight and I think Edwards is very good. He impressed me a great deal watching that fight.”
Throughout the bout, Edwards’s once again demonstrated phenomenal technical ability. He used his length well and dominated dos Anjos in the clinch, and on the ground when necessary. Perhaps the most impressive element of his performance was the way he used his left elbow to consistently hurt RDA. This was the aspect of “Rocky’s” game that most impressed Whittaker.
“That elbow, he could use it from range, it was ridiculous. He’s got so much reach, so much length and he utilizes his timing and distance perfectly. It was a perfect fight to watch from him, it really was beautiful. Every time dos Anjos would try to close the gap to do any sort of damage, Edwards would just step forward to meet him, beat him in the clinch and then usually elbow and whatnot. I thought it was a remarkable fight; he really impressed me.”
Robert Whittaker is slated to fight interim champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 243. That fight will take place at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, in October. While Whittaker has been booked to defend his title in Australia twice before, he has been forced out of bouts with Luke Rockhold and, most recently, Kelvin Gastelum, due to injury.
Should this fight go ahead, it will undoubtedly be the biggest fight in Australian MMA history and countless other athletes including Dan Hooker and Alex Volkanovski have also expressed a desire to appear on the UFC’s 15th event in Australia.