Edwards and Usman are expected to face off later this year in an all-but-confirmed welterweight title matchup. While the fight hasn’t officially been announced by the UFC, Dana White has clarified that the Usman/Edwards rematch is next for the title picture.
Usman and Edwards seem to have mutual respect for one another, but there’s been some light banter between the two of them in the leadup to the planned fight. Usman has jabbed Edwards for appearing to underrate his striking and promised to “beat his face” with his ground-and-pound.
During a recent interview with MMA Junkie, Edwards spoke about his doubts that Usman will take a wrestling-heavy approach in their upcoming fight—at least not initially.
“I think he’ll try to come out [and] strike,” Edwards said. “His earlier success is one thing, you don’t stop it for a fight, you would try it. I think once he sees that kind of success there, then he’ll resort back to his wrestling.
“But like I said, we’re two different fighters now from when we last fought six years ago, seven years ago. I think if either of us approach the fight as if we’re fighting the same guy six, seven years ago, we’re going to lose. We’re going to look at it as a brand new fight, approach it in that way and that’s how I’ll approach it. It’s gonna be interesting.”
Following Edwards’ win over Nate Diaz at UFC 263, Usman appeared to downplay the idea that Edwards should get the next title shot. But that has changed after Usman has dismantled Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington twice each.
Edwards and Usman battled once before back at a 2015 UFC Fight Night event, with Usman earning a unanimous decision win. Edwards hasn’t lost since and has won nine in a row over the likes of Diaz, Rafael dos Anjos and Gunnar Nelson.
A lot has changed for Usman as well since their first bout. He has surged to the top of the UFC’s pound-for-pound list after an electric 2021 in which he earned wins over Covington, Masvidal, and Gilbert Burns.
It’s been quite a long journey for Edwards to the title shot, and he’ll look to capitalize on the opportunity against Usman. Despite Usman’s wrestling prowess, Edwards seems ready for any challenges Usman will bring in the stand-up.
What is your prediction for the Kamaru Usman vs. Leon Edwards rematch?