Leon Edwards laments never getting chance at revenge on Jorge Masvidal: ‘That’s the one that got away’

As Leon Edwards watched UFC 287 in April, he witnessed the last fleeting moments of his chance to settle a grudge against Jorge Masvidal disappear like vapor into the ether.

An infamous backstage altercation between the fighters at a UFC London event in 2019 appeared to set the stage for an eventual showdown between them, with Masvidal throwing several punches at Edwards before security intervened. In the end, the fight never materialized, but after Edwards became UFC welterweight champion this past August, he held out the slightest bit of hope that perhaps Masvidal could resurrect himself as a legitimate contender so they could finally settle their differences in the octagon.

Alas, Masvidal lost a unanimous decision to Gilbert Burns at UFC 287 and then announced his retirement from the sport, which ended any potential chance for Edwards.

“That was the fight to make even after the [Ben] Askren fight,” Edwards told MMA Fighting when asked about Masvidal. “That was the fight to make straight away, but for some reason they didn’t want to make it.

“I think [at UFC 287], he showed his age. He’s what, 37 or 38? He looked slow in there. He got fatigued within a round or so. I don’t think either of them looked great, him or Gilbert. Gilbert was just the better man that night, but I think it’s probably good for him to retire.”

It was after that 2019 event in London and Masvidal’s stunning five-second flying knee knockout over Ben Askren that “Gamebred” shot to superstardom, pursuing bigger and bigger opportunities including two attempts at becoming UFC champion.

Through it all, Edwards continued to pursue Masvidal as his most desired fight because he wanted the chance to settle the score after the bad blood between them boiled over.

Despite his best attempts, Edwards says the UFC just never really showed much interest, and even when the idea was eventually floated, he claims Masvidal wasn’t interested.

“That’s the one that got away,” Edwards said. “That’s the one I wished happened, the one that fans wished happened, everyone wished that fight happened.

“For some reason, the UFC didn’t want to make it or tried making it and Masvidal turned it down. That’s the fight that definitely got away for sure.”

Masvidal’s career ended on a four-fight losing streak after he fell to Kamaru Usman twice in back-to-back title shots, and then in subsequent setbacks against former friend and teammate Colby Covington as well as the loss to Burns that led to Masvidal’s retirement.

After he lost in April, Masvidal admitted that he just didn’t feel the same anymore after a 20-year fight career and he knew it was time to call it a career.

“I signed up to fight the best of the best in the world, and I feel like I’m not there anymore,” Masvidal said. “I’ve lost that step. So it’s time to pass on the torch.”

Even if Masvidal wasn’t at his absolute best in April, Edwards was still rooting for him to win because he wanted that fight so badly that he didn’t really care if the UFC’s first-ever “BMF” champion was really worthy of a title shot against him.

Of course, Edwards believes the result against Masvidal would have been the same regardless of whether they met four years ago after their UFC London altercation or more recently after “Rocky” claimed his title as the No. 1 welterweight in the world.

“I wanted to put a beating on him,” Edwards said. “Looking like that or whatever he looked like, even after Askren, I just wanted to put a whooping on him and that was it.

“Whether it was the best Jorge or not, technically he’s just not as good as me. He’s not better than me. I just wanted to put a beating on him, but sadly I won’t get the chance in the octagon.”