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Usman joined the UFC in July 2015 fresh off the heels of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 21. Since then, he’s won 15 consecutive bouts and become champion along the way. Now five title defenses deep into his reign, Usman is lapping the competition having fought the same two men in four of his five defenses with the aforementioned Burns being the outlier.
Next in line for Usman is expected to be the surging Brit, Leon Edwards, who rides a 10-fight unbeaten streak. Ultra confident in his capabilities, the champion intends to get past Edwards sometime during the summer before trying his hand in the squared circle for a crossover boxing match with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. The likelihood of this fantasy matchup coming to reality feels unlikely in the minds of many, including Dana White, and Edwards feels especially so if he has anything to say about it.
“I don’t know where he’s at,” Edwards said told The Mirror. “There’s no way he’s going to beat Canelo anyway and there’s no way he’s beating me. I saw something came out the day where he said he’s coming out to wrestle for the whole fight, he can do what he wants. I’m ready to go.
“It’s either the payday or he’s trying to test himself, one or the other. It’s not a long career, so if you can get paid, get paid. I’ll be the champion when he leaves, so I’ll take the belt off of him then he can go and do what he wants to do.”
As fresh of a matchup as Usman vs. Edwards may feel considering each’s recent stretches, they too are already familiar with one another. The last time “Rocky” tasted defeat — only his third loss in 23 fights — was against Usman in 2015 after “The Nigerian Nightmare” had made his debut at the TUF 21 finale.
All these years later and plenty has changed. Edwards recognizes the clear improvements of the champion but simply doesn’t foresee the same outcome that was a unanimous decision in his adversary’s favor.
“He’s improved loads, but so have I,” Edwards said. “When I fought him I was 22 years old, I’m now 30 years old. I’ve learned a lot over that space of time but so has he. It’ll be a totally different fight from what it was back then, so we have to look at it as a new fight.”
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Sato got jokes.
— 佐藤天 Takashi Sato (@satotenten) March 17, 2022
Good memories for “Drago.”
— UFC on This Day (@UFConThisDay) March 17, 2022
Sweet triangle, bro.
Tom + Darren.
To Middle Earth!
Fitness with GSP.
“I can’t let you get close.”
I think Usman vs. Edwards 2 has the potential to be really fun over the course of five rounds. But man, it’s crazy how just one single punch has made me feel like Leon’s chances are way worse than they would be had he not have been hit with that one punch.
Thanks for reading and have a great and safe weekend, everyone!