A week and a half ago at UFC 258, Kamaru Usman defeated Gilbert Burns in a terrific fight for the Welterweight Championship. Usman is now 18-1 in his MMA career and has defeated three of the top five welterweight contenders, leaving only Leon Edwards and Stephen Thompson. Edwards fights Belal Muhammad on March 13th after his fight with Khamzat Chimaev got cancelled for the 3rd time, however, I don’t think the #3 rank should gain a championship opportunity if he beats the #13 ranked welterweight, especially when he fought a month prior.
The biggest issue with the welterweight division is that most of the top five think they should fight Usman next instead of fighting between each other to decipher the real number one contender. The only person in that top five that should have a solidified title bout against Usman is Colby Covington. I know Usman TKO’d him a year ago but that whole fight was close and he’s the only fighter, apart from Burns now, who’s had Usman huge danger in the UFC. I know Usman wants Masvidal because Jorge has been making the excuse of wanting more than six days to prepare and he wants to finish ‘Gamebred’ instead of having a decision win, but Usman dominated that fight, winning 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46 on the judges scorecards. In addition, Masvidal hasn’t fought since that fight so I don’t see why he’d be next in line. He’s done nothing to prove that he deserves the title fight over Colby Covington.
In my opinion, Colby should get his rematch against Usman around summer time and Masvidal should fight Burns or Edwards to figure out who fights for the title next. The issue with those fights is that those aren’t big name fights. There are four casual fan draws in the welterweight division right now. Usman, Covington, Masvidal and you could argue Chimaev and Nate Diaz if he fights. The likes of Burns and Edwards don’t have the pull that those other guys have, so having them fight one of those two, either Masvidal or Covington, wouldn’t have as big as an income like having Masvidal vs Covington or Masvidal/Covington vs Usman 2. The monetary aspect will always be a feature and will most likely be the option chosen rather than the option that makes sense but we’ll see what happens over Spring and Summer.