The welterweight division will take center stage atop each of the next two UFC pay-per-view events.
UFC 278 takes place this weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah, where 170-pound kingpin Kamaru Usman returns to try and earn a sixth consecutive title defense as well as a second victory over Leon “Rocky” Edwards. A win for the “Nigerian Nightmare” would also tie him with Anderson Silva for the longest winning streak in promotional history at 16.
Usman’s reign of terror over the weight class began in March 2019, capturing the title against Tyron Woodley. At this stage, the 35-year-old is “lapping the competition,” as he says, with Edwards marking the third rematch of his title reign. As a result, Usman is now teasing the thought of jumping all the way up to 205-pounds at light heavyweight in pursuit of a uniquely unheard-of double champ status.
Despite the fact that he’s had as many rematches as he’ll have had post-UFC 278, new contenders are emerging and the current name leading the charge is the undefeated smashing machine, Khamzat Chimaev. At No. 3 in the official UFC welterweight rankings, Chimaev faces Nate Diaz next month in UFC 279’s main event where a title shot should surely await him after a win. However, “Borz” isn’t so certain.
“We will see,” Chimaev told TheMacLife. “If Kamaru wins the fight, I think he gonna take long time to come back and maybe gonna retire. I think the guy’s scared of me. He always talk about maybe I finish, maybe I finish. I hope he gonna win the fight and I fight with him. But if he stays long time away, Jorge [Masvidal] starts to talk too much, I might have to smash his face as well.”
Like Usman, Chimaev also isn’t opposed to jumping around in weight. The only difference is that the Sweden resident has already done it in his short five-fight UFC career.
Chimaev started his career in the UFC as a middleweight, absolutely pummeling his way to a dominant second-round d’arce choke before essentially replicating this perfect performance in his following three bouts at both welterweight and middleweight.
Although he’s never fought Edwards, Chimaev found himself matched with the perennial top contender on multiple occasions in 2021, only for things to fall through each time. When assessing this weekend’s bout, Chimaev gives Usman the 60/40 edge and if he does have to wait around a bit after a presumed Usman win — plus his own over Diaz — he’s open to staying active back at 185-pounds.
“Yeah, from that time to when they meet the last time, they’re both completely different,” Chimaev said. “Kamaru’s getting much better boxing and Leon’s getting better wrestling. It’s interesting fight for me as well to watch that fight.
“I actually told my manager, let me fight at 84 [kilograms] as well, but he said let’s wait and focus on 170, take the belt then go up. We will see. I’m ready for everyone. When I said I can fight with Brock Lesnar, it’s real, I can fight with him. If they give me $1 million, no problem. Let’s fight who they want. Kamaru Usman, doesn’t matter.”
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— Dan Hangman Hooker (@danthehangman) August 16, 2022
Tito Ortiz’s Integrity
Starting Bid: $1
NO RESERVE AUCTION
— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) August 16, 2022
Colby plus Weezy.
Top Gun 3?
Sadly my “never been KO’d” streak came to an end.
I was blessed with the opportunity to fly with Blue Angels. Shoutout to number 7 pilot Griffin Stangel and everyone behind the scenes for the unreal experience. This once in a lifetime time ride I will never forget. Thank you pic.twitter.com/ptDEaztvEf
— Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) August 16, 2022
Thank you, sir.
A real fruit ninja.
I’m going to say As fighter I’m The best looking man ever and Saturday I will beat the second or 3* places cause I want the hole podium! pic.twitter.com/3OgI8wNJXT
— Paulo Costa ( Borrachinha ) (@BorrachinhaMMA) August 16, 2022
Swing and a miss.
GSP deep squattin’.
I can’t find the logic in Tito wanting a Chael rematch but boy did it brings some quick hilarity.
Thanks for reading!
If Khamzat Chimaev defeats Nate Diaz at UFC 279, will he face the winner of Kamaru Usman vs. Edwards 2?
Only if Usman wins
Only if Edwards win
1 vote total