UFC 278 – Who’s subsequent for Leon Edwards, Kamaru Usman and Jose Aldo?
Because the fifth spherical progressed in Salt Lake Metropolis, the headlines had been already being written. With one minute left in the principle occasion, Kamaru Usman had coasted in his title protection in opposition to Leon Edwards.
Then got here the pinnacle kick that shocked the world.
Edwards turned the brand new UFC welterweight champion with the knockout and despatched all these watching right into a frenzy. Now Edwards and Usman every have a win over the opposite, however will a rematch come subsequent?
So what comes subsequent? Let’s check out what fights might be booked subsequent.
Leon Edwards, welterweight champion (defeated Kamaru Usman by fifth-round knockout)
Who must be subsequent: Kamaru Usman
Edwards himself instructed ESPN previous to the struggle that he seen this as a “beat him twice” situation. Typically that is simply the case. If you wish to dethrone a dominant champ, you need to do it twice. We have seen that play out quite a few instances over the historical past of the game, and that is a kind of instances.
Edwards went into UFC 278 believing it was the proper set of circumstances for him to develop into a champion. And now that it has occurred, he desires to be an lively champ. I might see this one getting booked sooner reasonably than later, because it’s a kind of instances the place everybody must be on the identical web page by way of what’s subsequent, however that additionally will rely on the upcoming schedule.
Wild card: Khamzat Chimaev
Look, we have seen what a serious drive Chimaev has already was. He’s getting alternatives different fighters do not, and I might definitely see a situation wherein he finally ends up getting the subsequent title shot.
Whether or not it’s timing points with establishing a trilogy between Edwards and Usman or Chimaev merely doing one thing so unbelievable in his UFC 279 predominant occasion in opposition to Nate Diaz subsequent month, it is potential. However I am nonetheless saying the Usman trilogy is almost certainly.
Kamaru Usman, welterweight (misplaced to Leon Edwards by fifth-round knockout)
Who must be subsequent: Leon Edwards
Finally, Usman falls one in need of tying Anderson Silva‘s document of 16 consecutive wins to begin a UFC profession. We’re actually speaking about one of many biggest runs the UFC has ever seen, so this situation warrants an instantaneous rematch.
As you would possibly learn about me, I am not normally an “rapid rematch” form of man. I believe rapid rematches must be reserved for the obvious instances; in any other case, I like the concept of letting issues simmer and develop. However that is a kind of apparent instances. The matchup between these two is now tied 1-1. Usman deserves to be in a title struggle once more, instantly. This can be a no-brainer.
If the UFC decides to go one other path with its welterweight title, there really aren’t many fights for Usman that make sense as a result of he already has crushed so many of those guys (twice).
He has by no means fought Muhammad or Brady. The winner of that struggle in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, will likely be in line for a giant welterweight matchup. I do not suppose the winner of that struggle will get a title shot fairly but, although. So, this situation would make sense, however I’ve received to confess, the concept of Usman preventing one in all these two simply does not really feel more likely to me.
No disrespect to both of them, however after all the pieces Usman has completed, I simply do not see this situation piquing his curiosity.
Paulo Costa, middleweight (defeated Luke Rockhold by unanimous determination)
Paulo Costa handily wins his struggle vs. Luke Rockhold by way of unanimous determination within the co-main occasion of UFC 278.
Who must be subsequent: Jared Cannonier
Costa has expressed some doubts about his future with the UFC. He is sad together with his contact and is fascinated about pursuing skilled boxing. Personally, I hope he continues his MMA profession for years to return. He went by way of tough patch the final couple years, however his expertise is plain.
As of proper now, his subsequent transfer even inside the UFC is not apparent. It’s miles too quickly to speak a couple of rematch with Israel Adesanya. Jared Cannonier is coming off a loss, so this matchup does not make whole sense. However I do not see one other one within the prime of the rankings that makes extra sense than this one.
Wild card: Alex Pereira
If Pereira had been to upset Adesanya of their title struggle in November, Costa may be a title shot. After all, Adesanya getting an instantaneous rematch within the occasion of a loss can be doubtless, however not assured.
Saturday was a superb evening for Costa. He is nonetheless well-liked and he is nonetheless ranked excessive sufficient to warrant a title shot in opposition to Pereira, if that situation had been to play out.
Merab Dvalishvili, bantamweight (defeated Aldo by unanimous determination)
Dvalishvili is in a bizarre spot, however not a foul spot. His house is bantamweight, however his good good friend and coaching associate is the champ (Aljamain Sterling) and so they’re by no means going to struggle — he mentioned as a lot after tonight’s win. There would possibly come a time the place Dvalishvili has to maneuver round in weight, however we’re not there but. He has plenty of momentum at 135 and that is clearly his proper weight class.
He must hold doing what he is been doing, which is win, and cross that Sterling bridge when it will get there. The winner of Sandhagen-Yadong makes whole sense.
Wild card: Drop to flyweight
He is mentioned he is open to it. Finally, we would see it sooner or later. And in Dvalishvili’s thoughts, possibly he’ll resolve he’d reasonably simply go forward and make that transfer now, acclimate himself to the load class and begin working at a weight he desires to win a title in. However for my part, I do not suppose you make that transfer till you are really compelled to.
Jose Aldo, bantamweight (misplaced to Dvalishvili by unanimous determination)
Who must be subsequent: Dominick Cruz in Brazil
If Cruz, who misplaced to Marlon Vera final weekend, can and desires to do it, that is the struggle. Arguably the best featherweight of all time vs. the best bantamweight of all time. One other legend, Frankie Edgar, wish to struggle Cruz in his final struggle in November, however I believe I favor this one.
Another for Aldo in Brazil, in opposition to one other legend.
Wild card: Retire
Aldo mentioned he needed yet another crack at a championship after which win or lose, he’d retire. He instructed me previous to Saturday that if he had been to lose, he’d want to sit down down together with his workforce and resolve what the subsequent step can be. We’ll see what occurs.
If he decides the last word aim was to retire as a champion and, now that that is gone, there isn’t any motive to proceed, nobody might fault him for it.
Tyson Pedro, mild heavyweight (defeated Harry Hunsucker by TKO1)
5 years in the past, there was plenty of intrigue and expectation round Pedro. Sadly, he got here up quick in some key spots — after which damage sidelined him for 3 years. He is solely fought twice since getting back from damage, however the hype has shortly constructed again up following back-to-back finishes.
Walker is a little bit related. All of the athletic expertise on the earth, however he is stumbled quite a bit in recent times, compiling a 1-4 document in his final 5. Cutelaba hasn’t suffered by way of any lengthy skid, however he is additionally struggled to actually string collectively sufficient wins to place himself on the map.
Both approach, each have entertaining kinds and each are main steps up from what Pedro simply fought in Hunsucker.
These are two extra mild heavyweights who’ve proven a ton of potential, however are usually not with out their faults and losses. Reyes has practically reached the highest (some felt he really beat Jon Jones in a title struggle in 2020). He is suffered very powerful knockout losses to Jan Blachowicz and Jiri Prochazka since.
Spann has additionally proven flashes, however remains to be trying to put collectively a defining run that will lead him to a title. The largest downside with this one is that it is so far-off. Pedro had a straightforward evening on Saturday, and I might wish to see him in there sooner reasonably than later.