Leon Edwards will finally get his welterweight title shot when the UFC returns to Salt Lake City this summer for UFC 278.
The pay-per-view card takes place Aug. 20 at the 18,300-seat Vivint Arena, which hosted the promotion in 2016 for a Fight Night event.
The UFC announced the event during the pay-per-view broadcast for UFC 275 on Saturday.
For Edwards, the No. 4 welterweight in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings, the title opportunity represents the culmination of a long, winding journey to possible gold. Unbeaten in his past 10 fights, the U.K. native’s title prospects have been delayed due to the injuries and illnesses of opponents and the COVID-19 pandemic. Even a lackluster performance in his most recent outing, a UFC 263 meeting with Nate Diaz, was thought to have delayed his title hopes again when Diaz nearly knocked him out in the final seconds, marring an otherwise dominant performance.
Edwards also gets a chance to avenge his last loss, a unanimous decision setback against Usman seven years ago at UFC on FOX 17. Since then, both he and Usman have become dominant forces at 170 pounds, none more so than “The Nigerian Nightmare,” who captured the belt at UFC 235 and has since held onto it.
Injury again shadows Edwards’ march toward the title as Usman, the No. 1 welterweight and pound-for-pound fighter, returns to the octagon after a hand surgery that delayed his next title defense. A second win over ex-interim champ Colby Covington in a rematch at UFC 268 this past November marked Usman’s most recent appearance in the octagon.