Leon Edwards isn’t swerving from the obvious matchup for his first UFC welterweight title defense: a trilogy bout with Kamaru Usman.
Edwards (19-3 MMA, 11-2 UFC) is just more than a week removed from one of the most shocking championship victories in UFC history. After losing three of four rounds and with less than a minute remaining in the fifth, “Rocky” uncorked a perfect head kick that floored Usman (20-2 MMA, 15-1 UFC) for the knockout and led to the belt changing hands.
Although winning the belt gives Edwards a degree of power on input for what makes sense, he is offering no pushback regarding the most logical move. UFC president Dana White said he wants to do the trilogy in the U.K., and Usman has said he would be happy to oblige going overseas for the rubber match after he won the first fight with Edwards by unanimous decision in December 2015.
Edwards offers no arguments.
“I think Usman is deserving of the trilogy,” Edwards told “The Jim Rome Show” in the aftermath of UFC 278. “I would love to have it back in the U.K. Wembley would be good. The 02 would be good in London. I would love to give him the rematch, run it back, and let’s settle the score.”
If Edwards chose to, he could make a fuss and be a diva about his next move. He’s said he would welcome a rematch with Nate Diaz if he can upset Khamzat Chimaev at next week at UFC 279, and also has made it very clear he has a beef to settle with Jorge Masvidal.
Ultimately, though, no alternative makes more sense than Usman, and there’s no one more deserving. Usman put together five title defenses and the second-longest winning streak in UFC history before a single kick brought it all to an end, and Edwards said he’s not the type to deprive his rival of a well deserved opportunity to regain gold.
“(Masvidal is) on my list, but I think right now Jorge is on a two, three-fight losing streak,” Edwards said. “He needs to go out there and get some wins and make the fight make sense. That’s a fight I think would be massive for the UFC and to get my revenge on him, I cannot wait.”