While rumors have circulated that a hand injury will postpone Usman’s return to the octagon, Edwards — the current 170-pound champ — revealed this week that the UFC has told him their trilogy fight will take place at UFC 286 on March 18 in London.
“Yeah, 100 percent, that’s what I’ve been told, that’s what my team has been told,” Edwards told Michael Bisping on Believe You Me. “I spoke to the UFC last week, I think, and they said, ‘The fight’s on, he’s already training for the fight.’
“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.”
In the main event of August’s UFC 278 event, Edwards was less than a minute away from losing a unanimous decision to Usman in his first opportunity to fight for the welterweight title before stunning the now former champion, along with the entire MMA world, with a head kick in the fifth round that knocked Usman unconscious to capture the championship.
This time, Edwards will get the home field advantage fighting in London, and “Rocky” is curious how Usman will be able to adapt to that atmosphere after getting finished in their previous encounter.
“I just want to see how he reacts to getting knocked out cold, and see how he reacts traveling to the U.K., seeing how crazy the fans are and just see how he comes back because he’s not getting no younger,” Edwards said. “He’s, what, 35, 36? Maybe older? Let’s see how he comes back.
“It’ll be a totally different fight — I’ve said it, my coaches have said it. I’ve never lost in the U.K., amateur or pro, so I’m excited. I love fighting in front of my friends and my family, and yeah, I think it’s going to be a totally different fight. If he thinks he’s going in there and it’s going to be the same fight, he’s in for a rude awakening.”