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UFC news, rumors: Dana White shuts down Jorge Masvidal ultimatum talk; Frankie Edgar moving to bantamweight

After Jorge Masvidal delivered what will likely go down as the Knockout of the Year over Ben Askren at UFC 239, the fastest KO in UFC history, he made it abundantly clear that there are only two fights he desires next: a welterweight title shot against Kamaru Usman or a big-money fight against a returning Conor McGregor. Unfortunately for Masvidal, though, he doesn’t make the fights. UFC president Dana White has the final say there, and he reiterated his stance again that Masvidal cannot make demands.

Tuesday night, while speaking to the media following “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series,” White first confirmed that former interim champion Colby Covington — who impressed this past weekend with his dominant victory over Robbie Lawler — has earned the right to face Usman for the undisputed 170-pound title next. When the subject of Masvidal’s demands was brought up shortly after, White addressed the ultimatum by putting his foot down. 

“You can’t make ultimatums,” White said. “Listen, we’re going to offer him a fight, and if he accepts the fight, he does and if he doesn’t, he doesn’t.”

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White has already shot down the proposal of Masvidal facing McGregor, believing that Masvidal is too big of an opponent for the former featherweight and lightweight champion. Confirming that Covington is indeed next in line to challenge Usman essentially makes the ultimatum irrelevant. 

Using the process of elimination, the fight set to be offered that White is referring to points directly toward quietly-rising welterweight competitor Leon Edwards. He may not be the most appealing opponent for Masvidal, who has seen his mainstream fame skyrocket since his highlight-reel win over Askren, but Edwards has rattled off eight consecutive victories including his most recent over the legendary Rafael dos Anjos last month. Not to mention, Edwards and Masvidal were involved in a viral confrontation in London earlier this year, so the legitimate beef is present. 

More UFC news, rumors

  • On the heels of unsuccessfully challenging Max Holloway for the UFC featherweight championship at UFC 240, former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar is moving down a weight class again in the twilight of his career. Edgar’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday that Edgar’s next fight will take place at bantamweight. They’re targeting a 135-pound debut for the UFC 244 card in Madison Square Garden on Nov. 2. 
  • According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm will return to the Octagon on Oct. 5 in Melbourne, Australia, on the UFC 243 card in a rematch against Raquel Pennington. Holm made her UFC debut against Pennington in 2015 and came out on the winning side of a split decision that some viewed as controversial. Marvel Stadium, where the UFC 243 card headlined by the middleweight title main event featuring Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya is being held, holds significance for Holm. It’s the same venue that played host to her stunning knockout of Ronda Rousey to claim the 135-pound title in 2015. 
  • What should be an action-packed featherweight bout is heading to the UFC Fight Night Boston card in the co-main event slot on Oct. 18 as Zabit Magomedsharipov will battle Calvin Kattar. Magomedsharipov has emerged victorious in his first five UFC fights while quickly becoming a popular potential challenger to the champion Holloway. Kattar is currently riding a two-fight winning streak.