SALT LAKE CITY – UFC president Dana White expects to book a trilogy fight between Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman next, it’s just a matter of determining the logistics.
After Edwards (19-3 MMA, 11-2 UFC) claimed the welterweight title from Usman (20-2 MMA, 15-1 UFC) with a stunning head kick knockout in the fifth round of Saturday’s UFC 278 headliner at Vivint Arena, a whole new world of opportunity has opened up for the promotion in England.
The UFC has never hosted a stadium event on Edwards’ home soil, but White admits there’s some serious temptation to host the rubber match at Wembley Stadium in London, which has a capacity of roughly 90,000. Historically, however, White has been very resistant to open-air venues, and that hasn’t necessarily changed.
“How do you not do – f*ck, Wembley,” White told MMA Junkie and other reporters post-fight at the UFC 278 post-fight news conference. “I don’t know. Yeah (I want to do it in England). … We could go to England whenever the hell we want to now. We could go to England – we were selling out England before. Now you look at, do you do a bigger arena? I’m scared to go outside, and I’m definitely scared to go outside in England. I’m serious, but joking about England. Anything is possible in England now. It would be fun, but it’s scary at the same time. The weather isn’t the greatest in England.”
Fortunately for White, the promotion will have some time to figure out the best path forward. Usman is likely to be dealt a sizable medical suspension after such a violent knockout, and with the UFC calendar already booked up into the first month of 2023, White said there isn’t necessarily a rush to pin something down.
“I don’t think (Edwards) would have to sit and wait anyway due to the knockout,” White said. “I don’t think he would have to wait that long. He would have to go back into camp and start training anyway. First of all, we’d have to have the date. We’re all booked up all the way to – I think we’re booked up into January now. There will be no waiting for him, even if it’s a rematch.”
White said Edwards’ title-winning knockout was another reflection of the crazy, unpredictable nature of MMA. He thought Usman was well on his way to recording yet another title defense, but in the blink of an eye, everything changed.
“You think of everything that was on the line for Usman tonight, and Usman fought with absolute and total confidence all night,” White said. “He fought the perfect fight. Might not be the most fan-friendly style, but he was landing big shots to the body, big shots to the head, elbows. Couldn’t have fought a more perfect fight until the last minute.
“It’s how crazy the sport is. It’s what makes this sport the greatest sport in the world. That you can sit through four rounds and four minutes and that can happen in a fight. Anything is possible in this sport. Every time we make a fight and it’s like, ‘This is a lopsided, one-sided f*cking – there are no lopsided, one-sided fights in this sport. Anything is possible. I said it to you guys this week, the problem with this fight is people won’t give Leon enough credit and he’s a very dangerous opponent. Wow.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 278.
#Dana #White #ponders #Leon #Edwards #Kamaru #Usman #Wembley