Leon Edwards vs. Khamzat Chimaev is off for the second time in a week. The two top welterweights have been through it all while trying to get a fight made. Now it seems that fight will be forced back again as Edwards has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. The news was first reported by Ariel Helwani of ESPN. Edwards vs. Chimaev was scheduled as the main event for the Dec 19 card.
Edwards has been away from the UFC action since July of 2019. The number 3 ranked welterweight has been looking for a ranked opponent with no luck for the better part of the last year and a half. Edwards claims that he is being turned down by the top guys. He accepted a fight with rising star Chimaev recently but that matchup seemed doomed as of late.
Last week, reports stated that Chimaev was out of the fight due to his own COVID-19 positive test. The Czechia native denied the rumors of a positive test and assured the fans that the fight would proceed as planned for Dec 19.
This positive test by Leon Edwards will push the fight back to 2021 as reported by ESPN, putting even more time between this next fight and Edwards’ last outing. Edwards was temporarily removed from the UFC’s rankings due to this inactivity. Many believe that it was a sort of negotiating tactic to get Edwards to accept the fight with Chimaev. Once the fight was accepted, he was put right back at number 3.
It seems unlikely that the UFC will look for a replacement fight for Chimaev since they may have ad a difficult time finding this fight for him. He jumped into the limelight this summer when he made his UFC debut on Fight Island with a huge win over John Phillips. He followed that up with another win just ten days later. A clear favorite for rookie of the year and maybe even fighter of the year if he had finished Edwards, Chimaev will certainly be on the radar for top opponents after this fight with Edwards gets rescheduled for early next year.