UFC 278 – Who’s next for Leon Edwards, Kamaru Usman and Jose Aldo?

As the fifth round progressed in Salt Lake City, headlines were already being made. Kamaru Usman was idle in the main event with a minute left in his title defense against Leon Edwards.

Then came the headbutt that shocked the world.

Edwards became the new UFC Welterweight Champion with the knockout and sent everyone into a frenzy. Now Edwards and Usman each have a win over the other, but will there be a rematch next?

In the co-main event, Paulo Costa defeated an exhausted Luke Rockhold, and before that Merab Dvalishvili denied all attempts by Jose Aldo to get back on track.

What’s next? Let’s take a look at what fights could be booked next.


Leon Edwards, World Welterweight Champion (defeated Kamaru Usman by fifth-round knockout)

Who should be next: Kamaru Usman

Edwards himself told ESPN ahead of the fight that he viewed it as a “hit him twice” scenario. Sometimes that’s just the way it is. If you want to dethrone a dominant champion, you have to do it twice. We have seen this many times in the history of the sport and this is one of those cases.

Edwards went to UFC 278 believing it was the perfect set of circumstances for him to become a champion. And now that it’s happened, he wants to be an active champion. I could see this one being booked sooner rather than later as it’s one of those instances where everyone should be on the same page as to what’s next, but that will also depend on the upcoming schedule.

Wildcard: Khamzat Chimaev

Look, we’ve seen what a great power Chimaev has already become. He’s getting opportunities that other fighters don’t have and I could certainly imagine a scenario where he ends up getting the next title fight.

Whether it’s timing issues building a trilogy between Edwards and Usman, or Chimaev simply doing something so incredible in his UFC 279 main event against Nate Diaz next month, it’s possible. But I still say the Usman trilogy is the most likely.


Kamaru Usman, welterweight (lost to Leon Edwards by fifth-round KO)

Who should be next: Leon Edwards

Ultimately, Usman falls short of Anderson Silva’s record of 16 straight wins to start a UFC career. We’re literally talking about one of the greatest runs the UFC has ever seen, so this scenario warrants an immediate rematch.

As you may know about me, I’m not usually the “instant rematch” type. I think immediate rematches should be reserved for the most obvious cases; Otherwise, I like the idea of ​​letting things simmer and grow. But this is one of those obvious cases. The matchup between these two is now 1:1. Usman deserves to be back in a title shot right now. This is child’s play.

Wild Card: Winner of Belal Muhammad vs. Sean Brady at UFC 281

If the UFC decides to take a different tack with their welterweight title, there really aren’t many fights that make sense for Usman because he’s already beaten so many of these guys (twice).

He never fought Muhammad or Brady. The winner of this fight in Abu Dhabi, UAE will compete for a big welterweight matchup. However, I don’t think the winner of this fight will get a title fight just yet. So that scenario would make sense, but I have to admit that the idea of ​​Usman fighting either of those two just doesn’t seem likely to me.

No disrespect to either of them, but after all that Usman has achieved I just don’t see this scenario piqued his interest.


Paulo Costa, Middleweight (defeated Luke Rockhold by unanimous decision)

play

0:32

Paulo Costa easily wins his bout against Luke Rockhold via unanimous decision in the co-main event of UFC 278.

Who should be next: Jared Canonnier

Costa has expressed some doubts about his future with the UFC, saying he is unhappy with his contact and keen on pursuing professional boxing. I personally hope that he continues his MMA career for many years to come. He’s been through a rough patch in recent years but his talent is undeniable.

Right now, his next move isn’t obvious even within the UFC. It’s way too early to talk about a rematch with Israel Adesanya. Jared Cannonier has suffered defeat so this duel makes no sense. But I don’t see anyone else at the top of the leaderboard that makes more sense than this one.

Wildcard: Alex Pereira

If Pereira upset Adesanya in their November title fight, Costa could consider a title shot. Of course, it would be likely but not guaranteed that Adesanya would get an immediate rematch in case of defeat.

Saturday was a good night for Costa. He’s still popular, and he’s still ranked high enough to warrant a title shot against Pereira should that scenario materialize.


Merab Dvalishvili, bantamweight (defeated Aldo by unanimous decision)

Who should be next: Cory Sandhagen’s winner against Song Yadong on September 17th

Dvalishvili is in a strange place, but not in a bad place. His home is bantamweight but his good friend and training partner is the champion (Aljamain Sterling) and they will never fight; That’s what Dvalishvili said after Saturday’s win. There may come a time when Dvalishvili needs to move in weight, but we’re not there yet. At 135 pounds, he’s got plenty of momentum, and that’s clearly in his right weight class.

He has to do what he did, win, and cross Sterling Bridge when he gets there. The Sandhagen-Yadong winner makes perfect sense.

Wildcard: relegated to flyweight

He said he was open to it. Ultimately, we might see it at some point. And in Dvalishvili’s mind he may decide that he’d rather go ahead and take that step, get used to the weight class and work on a weight where he wants to win a title. But in my opinion, I don’t think you’re going to make that move until you’re actually forced to do it.


Jose Aldo, bantamweight (lost to Dvalishvili by unanimous decision)

?

Who should be next: Dominick Cruz in Brazil

If Cruz – who lost to Marlon Vera last weekend – can and will pull it off, this is the fight. Arguably the greatest featherweight of all time versus the greatest bantamweight of all time. Another legend, Frankie Edgar, would love to fight Cruz in Edgar’s last fight in November, but I think I prefer this one.

Another one for Aldo in Brazil against Cruz.

Wildcard: Retire

Aldo said he still wanted to make a leap into a championship and whether he win or lose he would withdraw. He told me before Saturday that if he lost, he would have to sit down with his team and decide what the next step would be. Lets see what happens.

If he decides that the ultimate goal was to retire as champion, and now that that’s gone, there’s no reason to continue, no one could fault him.


Tyson Pedro, Light Heavyweight (defeated Harry Hunsucker by TKO1)

Who should be next: Winner of Johnny Walker vs. Ion Cutelaba on September 10th

Five years ago there was a lot of intrigue and expectation surrounding Pedro. Unfortunately, he came up short at a few key points – and then an injury sidelined him for three years. He has only fought twice since returning from injury but the hype has quickly rebuilt after back-to-back results.

Walker is a bit similar. All the sporting talent in the world, but he’s stumbled a lot in recent years and has a 1-4 record in his last five. Cutelaba hasn’t slipped for long, but he’s also struggled to string together enough wins to put himself on the map.

Anyway, both have fun styles and both are huge advances from what Pedro just fought in Hunsucker.

Wild Card: Winner of Dominick Reyes vs. Ryan Spann on November 12th

These are two more light heavyweights who have shown a lot of potential but are not without mistakes and losses. Reyes has almost reached the top (some suggested he actually beat Jon Jones in a title fight in 2020). Since then he has endured very tough KO defeats against Jan Blachowicz and Jiri Prochazka.

Spann has also shown lightning but is still trying to put together a crucial run that would lead him to a title. The biggest problem with this one is that it’s so far away. Pedro had an easy night on Saturday and I’d rather see him in there sooner rather than later.

https://www.espn.com/mma/story/_/id/34433356/ufc-278-next-leon-edwards-kamaru-usman-jose-aldo UFC 278 – Who’s next for Leon Edwards, Kamaru Usman and Jose Aldo?

Emma Bowman

USTimesPost.com is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@ustimespost.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button