The highly anticipated trilogy bout between Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman which is being targeted to headline the UFC’s March return to London is thought to be in doubt, according to welterweight contender Stephen Thompson.
Edwards and Usman are thought to be the prime candidates to top the card for the promotion’s return to the English capital next year in what would be a rematch of the Briton’s stunning fifth round knockout of the former champion, in a fight which was Usman’s first loss of his UFC career to date. Usman won their first meeting several years prior by unanimous decision.
The potential trilogy fight had appeared a lock to headline the card but Usman, who has struggled with injuries in recent years, but according to Thompson a hand surgery that Usman requires has led to serious doubts as to whether he could be available in March.
“I know [Edwards] wants to fight somebody in March and they were looking at Jorge Masvidal,” Thompson said on a podcast appearance.
However, Masvidal’s current status is largely unknown and he would be a difficult sell for a world title fight after losing three successive bouts in the cage, twice to Usman and most recently Colby Covington. He remains embroiled in legal issues following the Covington fight stemming from an alleged assault of his rival outside of a Miami restaurants in the days following their pay-per-view fight.
But, Thompson said, if the UFC are looking for a new candidate, he would be more than happy to fill the gap. He recently scored a TKO (corner stoppage) win against Kevin Holland earlier this month to get back into the win column after losses to both Belal Muhammad and Gilbert Burns, but also stated that his style would ensure a crowd-pleasing event in London should his services be required.
“People are in talks of me fighting Leon Edwards,” he said.“He’s a stand-up fighter, so it kind of inspires me a bit, our division is so wrestler-heavy, and Leon Edwards is a striker and he’s champ.”
Either way, London looks set to host its first world title fight since the 2016 clash between Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson — even if we don’t quite yet know who will be standing opposite the presumed main attraction, Leon Edwards.