LEON EDWARDS is hoping the UFC will shelve plans for a rematch between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal in order for him to fight for the welterweight title.
It's understood a big-money rematch between 170lb king Usman and BMF titleholder Masvidal is in the works for later this year.
A deal, however, has yet to be finalised – although fan favourite Masvidal recently revealed he's set to return to the octagon in September.
But Edwards, who makes his long-awaited return to the cage tomorrow morning in the main event of UFC Fight Night 187, is hoping the promotion won't sign off on the fight until after his clash with Belal Muhammad.
When asked if he reckons a win over Muhammad will bag him a title shot, the No.3-ranked Edwards told SunSport: "I believe so.
"If I go out there and look good and put him away, I believe so.
"I know they're talking about the Jorge Masvidal – Kamaru Usman fight, right?
"So I'm hoping nothing gets made before my fight happens and they can push towards that."
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Edwards, 29, won't sit idly by should the UFC opt to book the money-spinning fight, which would be a rematch of the first main event of Fight Island.
He added: "Let's say they do make Jorge and Usman for June, I'm not going to wait around for them two to fight and then fight whenever they're ready.
"That's like another eight months or nine months. That's a long time to wait."
Following 19 frustrating months on the sidelines, Edwards' is hoping to get back to his active ways in 2021.
And that means performing a quick turnaround after getting past the in-form Muhammad, who enters their 170lb showdown on a four-fight win streak.
He said: "I'll look to fight again in the summer time.
"And then from there, we'll go from there.
"But I believe if I go out there, look good, put a good performance in, I'll get a title shot."
The soft-spoken Edwards has the utmost respect for Muhammad but plans to emphatically add the Palestinian-American's name to his victim list.
He said of the Chicagoan: "Belal is not on my level.
"He's a good fighter, he's a good contender, but he's nowhere on my level.
"And I'm going out there to prove that come March 13."
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