UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman recently met with ESPN and offered some interesting insights into the upcoming fight between Nate Diaz and Leon Edwards in May at UFC 262.
While Usman is focused on the upcoming fight at UFC 261 with Jorge Masvidal, he admitted that the fight between Diaz and Edwards intrigues him in many ways.
“Yeah, it’s kind of a funky one,” Kamaru Usman told ESPN. “They just kind of threw that in there on us but I like it. I really like the fight. I think it’s something that Leon Edwards desperately needed because I recognize his skills and I recognize how hard he’s worked since taking that loss to me. He’s worked very, very hard, he’s improved his wrestling, this guy is taking guys down, he’s submitting guys, he’s going the distance, five rounds with guys and he’s looking great.
“So I respect everything that he has done up to this point but the one thing that’s been lacking is the fact that he just didn’t have that recognition. The casual fans, if you mention his name to them they’re like, ‘Who’s that?’ It sucks to say but that was the case so a fight like this is something that can give him that recognition. If he goes out there and does what I think he’s capable of doing, come that next week people will know who Leon Edwards is and he makes a strong case for himself. You can’t deny him at that point. Eight-fight win streak, with that fight it will probably be nine so yeah it’s tough to deny the man a title shot.”
In his fight with Nate Diaz, Leon Edwards finally got the opportunity to increase his popularity in a 5-round co-op against one of the more popular fighters on the list and take first place in the fight for the title. And for Diaz, beating Edwards immediately puts him in a title fight if he wants to, which Usman doubts.
“According to me? Absolutely,” Usman said when asked if Diaz would get a title shot with a win. “You know me. I don’t shy away from any challenge. I’ll take on anybody. But according to him? I think that’s the second case to where a fighter just flat out says, ‘You know what? I don’t even want a title shot. I’m good.’”
“I offered it to Conor when Conor was running his mouth that the third belt looked great to him and this and that and I said, ‘Yo, I’m here. I’m available. What date do you want to do it?’ But he was quiet. He didn’t respond. So that’s the first case where a guy was like, ‘You know what? I don’t want none of those problems. I don’t want to do it.’ And I think this will probably be the second case. If he was able to get that win, I think he will definitely be turning down that title shot.”
Nate’s win over Edwards is something to look out for and could trigger a lot of scenarios for the UFC welterweight title. Diaz’s victory will open up a myriad of options for someone who already has countless options. Kamaru Usman answered below about a possible challenge.
Absolutely,” Kamaru Usman said when asked if he’d take the fight. “I want any fight and a fight like that, these are just fun fights for me. I’m starting to have fun with this, so these are just fun fights for me. Whether it’s Nate, whether it’s Leon, whether it’s Covington, they’re all fun fights for me now.”