Kamaru Usman views Leon Edwards as top welterweight contender

Leon Edwards Kamaru Usman
Image Credit: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Kamaru Usman held onto the UFC welterweight title at UFC 245, knocking his challenger Colby Covington out in the fifth round. With this victory in the rear-view, the champion can now look ahead to his next challenge.

He believes England’s Leon Edwards is the fighter most deserving of an opportunity.

“Man, there’s a lot of tough guys in the division: a lot, a lot of tough guys. Let’s be honest,” Usman said at the UFC 245 post-fight press conference (transcript via MMA News). “If we’re talking about someone who’s deserving, Leon Edwards hasn’t lost since he fought me. He’s been finishing guys. And he’s now found himself in the position that I found myself in a little over a year ago…is everyone knew that I was one of the toughest guys out there, and they didn’t want to gamble and take that risk on me.”

Usman and Edwards fought back in 2015. On that night, Usman defeated Edwards by unanimous decision. Since then, Edwards has gone on an eight-fight tear, defeating men like Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Gunnar Nelson, and most recently, Rafael dos Anjos.

While Usman now views Edwards as the fighter most deserving of a title shot, he says he’ll take on whoever the UFC sees fit. Based on UFC President Dana White’s recent comments, that probably means Jorge Masvidal.

“Right now, I’m sitting above, looking at all these guys and they’re kind of all in that pool….very tightly contested,” Usman said. “So they just need to break out, and I’m waiting for whoever Dana and the organization feel is the next guy for me, and I’ll be happy. I’ve never turned down a fight, especially now; I’m the champion. So if they say, ‘This is the next guy,’ then, hey, that’s the next guy.”

Who do you think should be next for Kamaru Usman?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/16/2019.