Assuming UFC champion Kamaru Usman is victorious in his scheduled title defense against Colby Covington at UFC 268, the reigning welterweight king has a preference for his next championship bout. And it's bad news for Leon Edwards.
Kamaru Usman prefers Vicente Luque over Leon Edwards
Yesterday, MMAJunkie lead reporter John Morgan tweeted [h /t BJPenn] a news bit from a conversation between himself and Usman's manager Ali Abdel-Aziz. In their chat, Morgan inquired if newly minted fourth-ranked 170-pounder Vicente Luque had leaped past Edwards into title contention following his impressive submission win over Michael Chiesa at UFC 265.
Abdel-Aziz didn't mince words on who has a better chance at a golden opportunity between the top-five welterweights.
“Kamaru is done fighting people for free. We’re not interested in Leon unless he fights someone like Masvidal at [Madison Square Garden]. If not, guys like Luque who fight the best will pass him up,” he said.
Although a betting favorite this past weekend, Luque's win was nonetheless a major statement at the top of the division. Not only did he score a first-round stoppage over a higher-ranked opponent, but he locked up a submission victory over one of the most talented grapplers in the division.
Also, it certainly helps that the 29-year-old Brazilian was a long-time teammate of the champions when he based he training camps out of Sanford MMA in Florida. The two clearly have strong mutual respect, and it showed in Luque's nice-guy call out for a title fight after his win. A callout Usman respectfully acknowledged soon after on Twitter.
Despite the ongoing disinterest in a rematch of their 2015 bout that Usman won, Edwards is as deserving of a title fight as any fighter in the division. Since the Usman loss, he has gone unbeaten in 10 straight fights and earned a mostly dominant unanimous decision victory over fan-favorite Nate Diaz in his most recent outing at UFC 263.
Edwards does not have an opponent set yet for his next Octagon outing.
Before a possible Kamaru Usman vs Vicente Luque fight can happen, he must first overcome the challenge of top-contender Covington in a rematch at UFC 268, on November 6 in New York City's Madison Square Garden.