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Leon Edwards open to Islam Makhachev but also eyes middleweight move

Leon Edwards wants to climb the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings.

Edwards (21-3 MMA, 13-2 UFC) defends his welterweight title in a rematch against Belal Muhammad in the UFC 304 headliner July 27 at Co-op Live in Manchester, England. Edwards is currently ranked No. 4 in the official pound-for-pound rankings and is aiming to ascend.

“That’s my goal,” Edwards told talkSPORT MMA. “Obviously my first goal was to achieve this (UFC title), and now I’ve got it. I’ve got to make another goal, what’s going to get me up in the morning to go out there and achieve what I’m trying to achieve – the numbers, the money, the pound-for-pound rankings.”

Lightweight champ Islam Makhachev (25-1 MMA, 14-1 UFC) has expressed his interest in challenging for the welterweight title on numerous occasions, and Edwards can see that fight happening.

But Edwards has the desire to move up a weight class himself.

“For sure, for sure,” Edwards said of fighting Makhachev. “I feel like we’ve both got work to do within our division. I feel Islam just fought his first actual lightweight (Poirier). He fought Volk, but this is his first actual lightweight he’s fought within the division.

“He’s on a three defense streak. After I beat Belal, that will be my third, as well, so we’re both on similar paths. I can see that happening in the future. Also, I would like to move up, as well, and challenge for the middleweight belt hopefully. I feel like I’d have the size for it and the skill for it, so why not chase greatness?”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 304.

Be sure to visit the MMA Junkie Instagram page and YouTube channel to discuss this and more content with fans of mixed martial arts.

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