UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has a lot of options available.
The 33-year old Nigerian-American wrested the belt from Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 in March 2019. Last December, Usman successfully defended the title by beating up former interim welterweight champion Colby Covington.
Usman was supposed to defend his belt against Masvidal next but it seems that the negotiations for the fight have stalled. Gamebred has turned his attention to fighting Nate Diaz a second time for the BMF belt. Usman meanwhile, has expressed interest in fighting Conor McGregor, inviting the former two-division champion to stay at 170 and aim for a third world title. The odds for that possible showdown have been released and according to the online sportsbook BetOnline as of 06/01/2020, the champion is a -350 favorite to beat the Irishman who is currently pegged at +285.
But before fans can get excited about McGregor getting another shot at winning another weight class, UFC President Dana White shot down the idea by naming possible challengers that the Nigerian Nightmare will face next. According to White, Usman’s next challenger will be one among Masvidal, Colby Covington, and Leon Edwards. However, after last Saturday’s UFC event at the Apex Facility, a fourth contender has emerged in Gilbert Burns.
Let’s take a look at the four fighters who could fight Usman in the latter’s next title defense:
Jorge Masvidal is the 3rd ranked welterweight in the UFC. The 35-year old from Miami, Florida is the uncrowned 2019 Fighter of the Year with three high profile wins last year. Masvidal started 2019 by knocking out Darren Till in London and then he stopped Ben Askren is a record-time of five seconds at UFC 239. Gamebred capped off 2019 by winning the unofficial BMF title by stopping Nate Diaz at UFC 244.
Masvidal has a record of 35-13 with 16 knockouts and two wins by submission. He has won six out of his last eight bouts and his last five wins have been by knockout. In case you’re wondering, Masvidal’s last five knockout victims are Jake Ellenberger, Donald Cerrone, Till, Askren, and Diaz. He is keen or a rematch with Diaz and has also been looking at the possibility of a big-money fight with Conor McGregor. However, he also stands as the top choice to challenge Usman for the UFC 170-pound belt.
Colby Covington is the former interim UFC welterweight champion and the current #2 ranked welterweight contender. Chaos is the man who Usman defeated at UFC 245 to win the UFC welterweight title. Before that, Covington won the interim UFC welterweight title by defeating Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 225. He was stripped of the belt after suffering a nasal injury which forced him off a proposed title unification against then-champion Tyron Woodley.
Chaos is a former NCAA Division I All-American wrestler from Oregon State University. He has a record of 15-2 with two knockouts and five wins via submission. Covington is 10-2 inside the UFC Octagon. He won seven consecutive bouts before his loss to Usman. During that run, he picked up notable victories over Dong Hyun Kim, Demian Maia, Rafael Dos Anjos, and Robbie Lawler. Covington hasn’t fought since losing to Usman and he would love to get a rematch with Usman for the belt, especially after Tyron Woodley’s loss last weekend. Covington and Woodley have been jabbing back and forth for the last couple of months. But with Woodley now out of the picture, a rematch with Usman should be an ideal fight for him.
Leon Edwards is the 4th ranked welterweight contender in the UFC. Rocky was supposed to face Tyron Woodley at the main event of UFC on ESPN +29 last March but the event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since that cancelation, Woodley turned his attention to Colby Covington but ended up fighting and losing to Gilbert Burns last weekend. With Woodley out of the picture, Edwards and Masvidal are now the top two favorites to land the next shot at Kamaru Usman.
Rocky has a record of 18-3 with six knockouts and three wins via submission. The former BAMMA welterweight champion has lost just twice in a dozen octagon appearances. In the last two years, Edwards has picked up impressive wins over Donald Cerrone, Gunnar Nelson, and Rafael Dos Anjos. Overall, Edwards has won eight consecutive bouts and he has not lost since dropping a decision to Usman in December 2015.
During his interview last week, UFC President Dana White only mentioned the names of Masvidal, Covington, and Edwards as the choices for Usman’s next title defense. But after last weekend’s UFC event, Brazilian Gilbert Burns has emerged as the fourth option for Kamaru Usman. The three-time world champion grappler decisively beat Woodley during last Saturday’s main event. With the win, Burns should move up the ladder when the new rankings come out.
Durinho has won six consecutive bouts including four since moving up to welterweight. His last two wins against Demian Maia and Woodley have been impressive, and he has earned the Performance of the Night bonus in both wins. Although Masvidal and Edwards can say that they have earned their stripes, Burns’ one-sided beating of the immediate former champion Woodley was a big statement to the division. The Brazilian has a record of 19-3with six knockouts and eight wins via submission.