Edwards (19-3 MMA, 11-2 UFC) is projected to be the next challenger for UFC welterweight champion Usman (20-1 MMA, 15-0 UFC), who has defended his title five times.
Masvidal (35-15 MMA, 12-8 UFC) is coming off a knockout loss to Usman at UFC 261, where he fell short to the champion for a second straight time. “Gamebred” admitted Usman’s power took him by surprise. So with his strong wrestling background and ever-improving striking, Masvidal thinks Usman will be too much for Edwards.
“If Usman fights like he did the last two fights, mixed in with his wrestling, I think he can TKO Leon,” Masvidal said in a recent Q&A. “I could see Leon getting tired and Usman landing hard shots later on, which one fight ago, I wouldn’t have thought Usman could hit, and now all of a sudden he could hit. It’s very overnight and it’s very surprising and he was doing it to Colby (Covington). He was freaking cracking Colby in this last fight.
“Johny Hendricks had something like that where he was just wrestle-f*cking everybody and then he started knocking everybody out. He knocked out like six, seven people like that. … If (Usman) brings that heat into the Leon fight, mixed with his wrestling, I think he takes it easy.”
Masvidal hasn’t given up on his title hopes just yet. He faces former friend-turned-foe Covington in the UFC 272 main event, and if he’s able to settle the grudge, he hopes a third crack at the title is next.