Reigning welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is set to defend his title next week at UFC 261 against Jorge Masvidal, in a rematch nearly one year after their first meeting. While Usman walked away from their first fight with a dominant unanimous decision victory over Masvidal, who took the fight on six days notice, he’s coming into the rematch with just as much confidence, and has eyes on a future opponent, if all goes according to plan.
At next month’s UFC 262 PPV, the co-main event will feature a high-stakes welterweight feature between top contender Leon Edwards welcoming back Nate Diaz in a five-round, non-title co-main event fight. A win for Diaz would likely leapfrog him to the top of the welterweight contenders and possibly a title shot, but the champion doesn’t believe he would step up and take it if offered to him.
In an interview with ESPN’s Marc Raimondi, Usman was asked about the upcoming co-main feature between Diaz and Edwards and revealed he’d be willing to give Diaz a title shot if he was victorious, but seriously doubts if the highly popular fighter would want the fight, just like his rival, Conor McGregor, turned down a fight against Usman in the past as well.
“If [Nate Diaz] was able to get that win [over Leon Edwards], I think he will definitely be turning down that title shot.”
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) April 16, 2021
“According to me, absolutely. You know me, I don’t shy away from any challenge, I’ll take on anybody. According to him? I think that’s the second case to where a fighter just flat out says ‘I don’t even watch a title shot, I’m good.’ I’ve offered it to Conor [McGregor] when Conor was running his mouth that a third belt looked great to him and I said ‘I’m here, I’m available, what date do you want to do it?’ But he went quiet, he didn’t respond. That’s the first case where a guy was like I don’t want none of those problems.
I think this would probably be the second case if he [Nate Diaz] was able to get that win, I think he definitely will be turning down that title shot.”
On the other side of the Nate Diaz fight is his opponent Leon Edwards who is currently riding an eight-fight winning streak, with his last loss coming to, Kamaru Usman back in 2015. As he’s continued to climb the ranks of the welterweight division, Edwards has not been shy about his desire to get a rematch with Usman as well as what he believes is a deserved title shot.
Mike Pendleton is a current contributor to MyMMANews, BJPenn.com, and TheScrap.Co while also hosting his “On The Mic” podcast and works as an Associate Producer on Sirius XM’s Fight Nation channel.
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