‘Ben Askren was never good anyway’ - Leon Edwards slams Jorge Masivdal title shot talk

Express

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20 July 2019 07:00

Fan favourite Masvidal staked a huge claim for the next crack at welterweight king Kamaru Usman earlier this month at UFC 239.The American Top Team ace did so by registering the fastest knockout in UFC history against the previously undefeated Ben Askren, whom he knocked out in five seconds with a spectacular flying knee.The emphatic nature of Masvidal’s demolition of Askren has, in many fans’ eyes, made him the standout candidate for Usman’s first title defence.And with the 34-year-old knocking out former 170lb title challenger Darren Till a few month earlier, one wouldn’t begrudge the UFC handing the veteran a title shot.

Edwards, though, is adamant ‘Gamebred’ shouldn’t be in consideration to fight ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ next.“I don’t believe he [Masvidal] should get a title shot,” said Edwards, who is currently riding a seven-fight win streak. “Just before him beating Till and Ben, he was on a two or three-fight losing streak. He was about to get cut.“I don’t understand where he’s coming from and [why he’s saying] he deserves a title shot for beating Ben Askren.”Becoming the first man to defeat Askren, and doing it in such devastating fashion, has seen Masvidal’s star power reach new heights.

Edwards was somewhat impressed by the manner in which the Cuban-American saw off Askren, although he never held ‘Funky’ or his achievements outside of the UFC in high regard.“Ben Askren was never good anyway,” said Edwards. “His mouth got him to where he is.“His mouth made him popular in the UFC.“He came in and had a close win over Robbie Lawler. And now, he’s the next best thing since sliced bread.”

With the UFC handing title shots to fighters many feel aren’t deserving of them, Edwards can’t help but admit Masvidal could leapfrog him in the queue.To his credit, the Birmingham native isn’t focusing on what’s out of his hands and is fully focused on staking his own claim for a crack at Usman by beating dos Anjos early on Sunday morning.He said: "It’s a mad game. But I’m just focused on my journey, focused on Saturday and focused on ‘RDA’. And I’ll see where we’re at next.”UFC Fight Night 156: Dos Anjos vs Edwards fight card

Rafael dos Anjos vs Leon Edwards - welterweight boutAleksei Oleinik vs Walt Harris - heavyweight boutGreg Hardy vs Juan Adams - heavyweight boutJames Vick vs Dan Hooker - lightweight boutAlexander Hernandez vs Francisco Trinaldo - lightweight boutAndrei Arlovski vs Ben Rothwell - heavyweight boutPrelimsAlex Caceres vs Steven Peterson - featherweight boutRaquel Pennington vs Irene Aldana - women’s bantamweight boutSam Alvey vs Klidson Farias de Abreu - light-heavyweight boutRoxanne Modafferi vs Jennifer Maia - women’s flyweight boutRay Borg vs Gabriel Silvan - men’s bantamweight boutMario Bautista vs Jin Soo Son - men’s bantamweight boutDomingo Pilarte vs Felipe Colares - men’s bantamweight bout

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