Longtime welterweight contender Stephen Thompson recently told the combat sports media that former 170-pound champion Kamaru Usman was having hand surgery and unlikely to be healthy in time for the UFC 286 pay-per-view (PPV) event, scheduled for Sat., March 18, 2022 at The O2 Arena in London, England.
Then came this alarming pic.
“I spoke to the UFC last week, I think, and they said, ‘The fight’s on, he’s already training for the fight,’” Edwards told Michael Bisping on Believe You Me (transcribed by MMA Fighting). “I am aiming towards that, and if anything changes in the meantime, we’ll go from there. But now I’m focused on the trilogy with Usman in London.”
Edwards (20-3, 1 NC) upset the welterweight apple cart with a stunning, fifth-round knockout victory over Usman in the UFC 278 main event last August in Salt Lake City, capturing the 170-pound title while avenging a loss to “The Nigerian Nightmare” from their first meeting at UFC on FOX 17 back in late 2015.
“Rocky” expects an entirely different fight for their pending rubber match.
“I just want to see how he reacts to getting knocked out cold, and see how he reacts traveling to the UK, seeing how crazy the fans are and just see how he comes back because he’s not getting no younger,” Edwards continued. “He’s, what, 35, 36? Maybe older? Let’s see how he comes back, it’ll be a totally different fight.”
Usman has yet to comment on his participation.