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Morning Report: Gilbert Burns, Leon Edwards argue over who deserves next shot at Kamaru Usman

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

On Saturday night, Kamaru Usman successfully defended his welterweight title with a five-round unanimous decision victory over Jorge Masvidal in the main event of UFC 251. And with the champion still firmly entrenched at the top of the division, it didn’t take long for his potential next opponents to start fighting over who should get the next shot at him.

Shortly after Usman got his hand raised, top contender Gilbert Burns responded to a Tweet suggesting he should face Leon Edwards next in a No. 1 contender bout, throwing shade at Edwards for having no wins over a top-five opponent and reasserting his claim for the title shot.

Burns was the intended opponent for Usman at UFC 251 until he contracted COVID-19 and was removed from the card just a few days before fight week. Of course, that doesn’t mean much to Edwards who was lobbying to face the winner of UFC 251 all week and did not take Burns’ comments about him well. “Rocky” responded in kind to Burns which begat a back-and-forth over the rightful next welterweight title challenger.

And as for the champion? Usman is not overly concerned about picking his next opponent. In the post-fight press conference, “The Nigerian Nightmare” was pretty open to fighting either guy, or whoever else the UFC may deign to put in front of him, because, after all, the best laid plans of the UFC often go awry anyway.

“We’ve got to wait to see what happens,” Usman said. “We all know what happens in the UFC. Nothing is for sure unless you’re stepping inside that cage. That’s when something is for sure. We learned that six days ago. . .

“That’s the one thing, in this division, there’s no shortage of contenders. Leon Edwards is there. The guy’s been tearing it up. Gilbert had an amazing year, he’s there. Colby thinks he’s there. So there’s no shortage of challenges. There’s always gonna be a challenger, they’re always gonna throw somebody in there with me and whoever the company feels they want to throw in there, that’s my job as a champion to go in there and dominate like I just did.”

Burns and Edwards both have a case for the next title shot. Burns is 4-0 since moving up to welterweight, with notable wins over Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley. In contrast, Edwards is currently riding a seven-fight win streak with notable wins over Donald Cerrone and Rafael dos Anjos. They are currently ranked Nos. 1 and 4 respectively in the UFC rankings.


MUST-READ STORIES

Results. Check out all the winners from UFC 251 on Fight Island.

Formula 2. Jorge Masvidal: Kamaru Usman was the better man tonight, but ‘I know the formula’ to beat him now.

Controversy.Dana White criticizes Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway verdict at UFC 251: ‘We’ve got some bad judging’.

Statement. Jose Aldo releases statement following loss to Petr Yan: ‘I will come back stronger than I already am’.

EA UFC 4. Jorge Masvidal, Israel Adesanya named cover athletes of EA Sports UFC 4.

Venum. UFC picks Venum to replace Reebok as exclusive outfitting partner.


VIDEO STEW

UFC 251 post-fight show.

Fighters pick the rest of the Fight Island fights.

The making of Fight Island.

Post-fight press conference.

Masvidal and Adesanya EA Sports UFC 4 cover shoot.

Lance Palmer trying to get let go.


LISTEN UP

6th Round. Immediate post-fight analysis of UFC 251.

Severe MMA. Reviewing all the fights at UFC 251 and looking ahead to Wednesday’s card.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Masvidal

Old married couple. (Conor deleted)

View this post on Instagram

What is going on?? #UFC

A post shared by MMAFighting.com (@mmafightingdotcom) on

Champion.

Call out and response.

Super retired.

Respect.

Disrespect.

Big mad.

Ouch.

Reflection.

A fight we can all get behind.

Fight poster.

I’ve watched this roughly 27 times. It’s just so happy.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Tim Means (29-12-1) vs. Laureano Staropoli (9-2); UFC Fight Night, Aug. 8.

Sean O’Malley (12-0) vs. Marlon Vera (17-6-1); UFC 252, Aug. 15.

Emily Whitmire (4-3) vs. Polyana Viana (10-4); UFC Fight Night, Aug. 29.

Sarah Alpar (9-4) vs. Jessica-Rose Clark (9-6); UFC Fight Night, Sep. 26.


FINAL THOUGHTS

The combined record of the the three champions coming out of UFC 251 is 54-3. That’s f*cking insane. Add in 28-0 Khabib and 19-0 Adesanya, plus Jon Jones and that’s the greatest crop of champions ever. And Stipe ain’t nothing to sneeze at.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

Poll

Who had the most impressive performance at UFC 251?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    Usman
    (143 votes)
  • 2%
    Volkanovski
    (19 votes)
  • 81%
    Yan
    (722 votes)
884 votes total Vote Now

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