Leon Edwards’ 12-Match Unbeaten Streak: Who Did the UFC Welterweight Champ Beat During His Long Winning Run?

Leon Edwards’ 12-Match Unbeaten Streak: Who Did the UFC Welterweight Champ Beat During His Long Winning Run?

Joel Reyes
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:28 PM
  • Leon Edwards’ last defeat came against Kamaru Usman in their first meeting in December 2015
  • He went on a 12-match unbeaten run after that, including his last two wins against Usman
  • Edwards recorded signature wins over Donald Cerrone, Nate Diaz, and Rafael Dos Anjos during that run

It is time to give Leon Edwards his due.

The Jamaican-born, Birmingham-raised fighter showed his victory against Kamaru Usman last year was no fluke, beating him again in their trilogy fight on Saturday night.

Edwards won by majority decision to retain his UFC welterweight championship in front of a raucous hometown crowd.

Leon Edwards, Kamaru Usman, UFC 286, UFC
Leon Edwards reacts after defeating Kamaru Usman in the UFC welterweight championship fight during the UFC 286 event at The O2 Arena on March 18, 2023, in London, England. Image: Jeff Bottari
Source: Getty Images

Edwards is cementing his status as one of the all-time greats in the UFC, with the 31-year-old extending his unbeaten streak to 12 matches.

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The last time he tasted defeat was on December 19, 2015, when he lost to Usman via unanimous decision in their first fight.

Let’s look at the fighters Edwards has beaten during his remarkable run.

1. Dominic Waters (May 8, 2016)

Edwards returned to winning ways at UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Arlovski, beating Waters by unanimous decision. He dominated this contest, outlanding Waters in strikes, 24-3.

2. Albert Tumenov (October 8, 2016)

Edwards returned to the Octagon five months after his win against Waters, recording an impressive submission win over Tumenov at UFC 204. He applied a rear naked choke on Tumenov in the third round to nab his second straight win.

3. Vicente Luque (March 18, 2017)

Edwards extended his unbeaten streak to three matches with a convincing win over Luque at UFC Fight Night: Manuwa vs. Anderson.

Their fight went the distance, with Edwards winning by unanimous decision. Edwards dominated in the strikes department, outlanding Anderson 53-24.

4. Bryan Barberena (September 2, 2017)

Edwards stretched his unbeaten run to four matches at UFC Fight Night: Volkov vs. Struve, beating Barberena by unanimous decision. He recorded three takedowns in this encounter.

5. Peter Sobotta (March 17, 2018)

Edwards continued his winning streak at UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov, knocking out Sobotta at 4:59 of the third round. That was his first knockout win in the UFC since scoring a KO/TKO victory over Seth Baczynski on April 11, 2015.

6. Donald Cerrone (June 23, 2018)

Edwards finally had his first five-round fight, with his showdown against Cowboy given the main event slot at UFC Fight Night.

Edwards opened a cut on Cerrone in the second round thanks to a combination of knee and elbow strikes. The fight still went the distance, with Edwards winning by unanimous decision.

7. Gunnar Nelson (March 16, 2019)

One of the biggest surprises of UFC Fight Night: Till vs. Masvidal came when Bruce Buffer announced that the showdown between Edwards and Nelson ended in a split decision.

Judge Anders Ohlussun scored the fight 29-27 in favor of Edwards, while Judge Andy Roberts ruled it a 29-28 win for Edwards. Judge Howard Hughes gave the fight to Nelson, scoring it 29-28 in his favor.

8. Rafael Dos Anjos (July 20, 2019)

Edwards starred in the main event again, winning by unanimous decision over Dos Anjos. He entertained the San Antonio, Texas fans, with Edwards showing all the tools in his arsenal. He secured three takedowns in this contest and did heavy damage with his elbows.

9. Belal Muhammad (March 13, 2021)

Edwards’ fight against Muhammad was declared a no-contest after the former poked the latter’s right eye for the second time. It was a disappointing ending for Edwards, who looked sharp despite a 20-month layoff.

10. Nate Diaz (June 12, 2021)

This was the moment that Edwards had long been waiting for. The winner of this fight against Diaz was promised a title shot, and Edwards didn’t let the opportunity slip away.

He won by unanimous decision after taking all of the opening four rounds. Diaz rocked Edwards in the fifth round, but the latter managed to hold on for the victory.

11. Kamaru Usman (August 20, 2022)

Edwards finally captured gold at UFC 278, defeating long-time champ Kamaru Usman to win the welterweight title. He did it in stunning fashion, knocking out Usman with a Hail Mary head kick at 4:04 of the fifth round.

12. Kamaru Usman (March 18, 2023)

Edwards silenced the doubters, retaining his welterweight crown at UFC 286. He dazzled in front of his home fans, beating Usman by a majority decision. Two judges scored the bout 48-46 in favor of Edwards, while the other ruled it a 47-47 draw.

UFC’s greatest trilogies

Sports Brief recently reported on the greatest trilogies in the UFC.

The showdowns between Liddell and Couture topped the list, with all three of their fights becoming pay-per-view headliners.

The Edgar vs. Maynard trilogy came in second, with the two fighters ending with similar 1-1-1 head-to-head records.

Joel Reyes photo
Joel Reyes
Joel Reyes is a sports editor at Sportsbrief.com with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines. He has eight years of work experience in sports writing.
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