In a perfect world, UFC 278 will see Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards run things back with Welterweight gold on the line.
According to Ariel Helwani, the promotion hopes to book the rematch for UFC 278 on Aug. 20, 2022, in what is anticipated to be Salt Lake City, Utah. The location of the event has yet to be officially announced.
“UFC would like Kamaru Usman vs. Leon Edwards 2 to be on that card, but that’s still up in the air because of Usman’s hand recovery,” Helwani said.
As alluded to by Helwani, Usman recently underwent successful hand surgery to take care of some nagging injuries. Unfortunately, ESPN’s Brett Okamoto provided an update earlier this afternoon (Tues., May 17, 2022), stating that progress has gone slower than hoped for the reigning champion.
“Spoke to [Usman’s manager] Ali Abdelaziz about Kamaru Usman’s hand,” Okamoto tweeted. “He said as of now Kamaru has not been medically cleared and there is no timeframe on his return. Kamaru only started slowly testing the hand this month.”
Usman has been rather vocal about his plans for 2022 starting with a summertime showdown against Edwards. After that, the intent was to make a big crossover match up with one of the top pound-for-pound boxers, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, in September. However, the entire mapping out of the year for Usman has fallen a bit into shambles simply considering his own status, but additionally, Canelo just suffered a unanimous decision defeat to Dmitry Bivol (watch highlights) earlier this month (May 7, 2022).
Nov. 2021 marked the last appearance for Usman, scoring his second career victory over arch-rival, Colby Covington, at UFC 268. After finishing “Chaos” late in their first encounter at UFC 245 in Dec. 2019 (watch highlights), Usman and Covington battled for the full five rounds in their rematch, resulting in an Usman unanimous decision nod and his fifth consecutive Welterweight title defense (watch highlights).