Mar 18, 2023; London, UNITED KINGDOM; Leon Edwards walks to the Octagon to fight Kamaru Usman (not pictured) during UFC 286 at O2 Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Smith on Leon Edwards: Welterweight Division First

Anthony Smith shares insights on UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards, questioning his potential move to middleweight.

UFC fighter Anthony Smith recently expressed his views on Leon Edwards’ aspirations to move up to the 185-pound division. Edwards, the current 170-pound welterweight champion, hinted at the possibility of moving to middleweight after his upcoming title defense against Colby Covington at UFC 296 on December 16. However, Smith, speaking on Michael Bisping’s YouTube channel, suggested Edwards should first focus on the welterweight division, which is brimming with contenders.

Smith emphasized the need for Edwards to “clear out” his division first. Acknowledging Edwards’ talents and his sole title fights against Kamaru Usman, Smith pointed out the lineup of worthy challengers in the welterweight division. Names like Belal Muhammad, Shavkat Rakhmonov, Ian Garry, and Gilbert Burns were mentioned as potential contenders, each posing a significant challenge to Edwards.

Furthermore, Smith speculated that Edwards’ interest in the middleweight division might be due to current champion Sean Strickland, whom Edwards perceives as a favorable matchup. According to Smith, if Khamzat Chimaev were the middleweight champion, Edwards might not be as keen to move up. Smith’s comments reflect a broader discussion in MMA about fighters switching divisions and the strategic considerations that come with such decisions.

Smith’s perspective adds another layer to the dynamic world of UFC, where divisional moves are often as strategic as they are ambitious.

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