The summit of the UFC welterweight division could just be thrown into disarray after reports that champion Kamaru Usman might face as long as six months on the sidelines due to a foot injury suffered in his third round TKO win against Gilbert Burns at last weekend’s UFC 258.
Per mixedmartialarts.com, the Nevada State Athletic Commission requires Usman to supply a clean x-ray otherwise he will not be eligible to compete until August 13. However, and to be clear, he can return earlier than that if he gets cleared by an orthopedic or sports doctor.
Should the worst be confirmed, it will throw a spanner in the cogs of the UFC’s plans for the 170-pound belt. A trio of fighters appear to be at the top of the queue to fight him next — Jorge Masvidal, Leon Edwards and Colby Covington — but news of Usman’s injury may force them to refocus and look for alternate options other than repeatedly stating their own candidacy for the Usman fight.
Edwards, for example, has issued a callout of Covington to compete on the UFC’s upcoming fight card on March 13 after his scheduled bout with Khamzat Chimaev fell apart for a third time. Masvidal, meanwhile, was thought to be close to securing a rematch with Usman after being the target of the champion’s own callout following his win against Burns late Saturday night.
Talks between all three parties are understood to have begun — but those will likely be determined by the results of Usman’s scans and whether or not he can be cleared by a sports doctor in advance of that August 13 date.