Thursday, June 23, 2022

Leon Edwards On Facing Usman In Utah: “Where The F*ck Is That?”

UFC welterweight contender Leon Edwards had to dust off his map when he found out the location for his upcoming title challenge at UFC 278.

After a long wait and plenty of callouts, #2-ranked Edwards is set to have his first championship opportunity inside the Octagon on August 20. Since a defeat to Kamaru Usman in 2015, the Englishman has gone unbeaten in 10 outings, a period that’s included wins against Vicente Luque, Rafael dos Anjos, and Nate Diaz.

With that, he’s earned a second date with the reigning king, this time with the prestigious welterweight gold on the line.

The bout was announced during the UFC 275 broadcast this past Saturday, and with it came confirmation of the event and location, the latter of which perhaps took many by surprise.

For the second time, the UFC will be taking the Octagon to Utah for an event inside Salt Lake City’s Vivint Arena. The promotion’s first visit to the state came back in 2016 when current top-five featherweight Yair Rodriguez headlined UFC Fight Night 92 opposite Alex Caceres.

While many were surprised to see the UFC announce a PPV for the state, especially headlined by the welterweight king, Edwards’ reaction was more one of confusion than anything else, as he explained during an appearance on The MMA Hour.

“I ain’t got a clue where Utah is!” Edwards admitted,” with a laugh. “I thought, ‘Where the f*ck is that! I ain’t got a clue where that is. I said to them, ‘Where the f*ck is Utah!’ They’re like, ‘In America.’

“I wanted to do it in Vegas. I was telling everyone — when I’m walking around the street in Birmingham, everywhere I go they’re like, ‘When is the fight? When is the fight?’ I’m like, ‘It’s gonna be in Vegas,’ telling everyone it’s gonna be in Vegas. Now it’s in Utah, I was like, ‘Mate…'”

There had been talk of the UFC potentially capitalizing on the momentum from UFC London earlier this year by bringing a PPV card across the Atlantic. Edwards confirmed that discussions for that had taken place, but explained that the late event time that would have been required wasn’t a possibility at The O2.

“That was mentioned to me as well. They said that they were trying to change The O2 (UFC London on July 23) to a pay-per-view,” confirmed Edwards. “But to do that, you need to have it at like, four in the morning… They couldn’t change The O2 to that time. So, yeah, now here we are.”

Utah is a landlocked state in Western United States, bordered by Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Arizona, and Nevada. It’s the 13th-largest state by area and the 30th most-populated, with over three million residents. The first Europeans to arrive there were the Spanish in the mid-16th century — in case any of Edwards’ fellow Europeans were struggling to put a place to the name.

Who will leave Utah (yes, UTAH) with the welterweight gold, Leon Edwards or Kamaru Usman?

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