It looks like a meeting between two of the UFC’s most heated rivals will need to wait a little while longer.
According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, a scheduled bout between No. 3-ranked welterweight Leon Edwards and the No. 7-ranked Jorge Masvidal was removed from the main card for UFC 269 in December due to an “undisclosed injury for Masvidal.”
The pair were finally destined to clash in the center of the Octagon after years of animosity away from the cage, which even included a backstage brawl after Masvidal’s knockout win against Darren Till.
Okamoto reported that there was “no word yet on whether (the fight) would be rebooked” or if the “UFC will move on.”
Unfortunately for UFC fans, the best approach on Edwards’ end would be to wait for a rightfully-earned and long-awaited title shot against UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, who is coming off a success title defense against Colby Covington at UFC 268.
Meanwhile, Masvidal could be set up to fight Covington if Edwards decides to move on to bigger and better things in the welterweight division.
While it seems unlikely for Edwards to remain on the UFC 269 card at this point, one option that immediately popped into the discussion was a potential bout with the fan-favorite Khamzat Chimaev.
Chimaev is coming off an impressive win against Li Jingliang at UFC 267, one where he took very little damage and fought for just three minutes and 16 seconds.
The rapidly-rising Chimaev was scheduled to take on Edwards earlier in 2021, but a bout with COVID-19 on Chimaev’s end led to the fight being cancelled.
If Edwards insisted on fighting on the UFC 269 card and wanted one more bout before a potential title shot against Usman, the two could make the situation right by capping off 2021 in style.
Meanwhile, Chimaev would get the opportunity of a lifetime, and could instantly propel himself towards a UFC title shot with a win over the No. 3-ranked Edwards.
“Let’s go bro, we do it,” Chimaev wrote on Twitter in response to the news about UFC 269.
Unfortunately for UFC fans, Edwards was quick to shut down any immediate bout with Chimaev, instead saying that he would be taking some “much needed family time.”
“Disappointed but honestly I knew this fraud didn’t want to fight me anyway,” Edwards wrote. “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.”
No matter how the UFC plans to move forward, it will be tough to match the electricity that Masvidal brings to an arena, and the legitimate tension that Masvidal and Edwards have in the prime of their respective careers.