Covington? Masvidal? Muhammad? Welterweight champ Leon Edwards has plenty of options after UFC 286

An old saying in fight sporting activities claims that a person is not absolutely the champ till they safeguard the title.

Well, if that is undoubtedly the instance, Leon Edwards sealed himself as the top man at welterweight on Saturday at UFC 286 in London, defeating Kamaru Usman momentarily straight time with the belt on the line.

Usman’s 15-fight winning touch as well as three-year control the department are currently in the rearview mirror. The Edwards age is upon us as well as he reminded everyone of that on Saturday night, describing himself as the “king” of the department.

Every One Of that holds true, yet things concerning being king exists is an unlimited wave of oppositions seeking to take the throne. Edwards has one title protection under his belt currently. The following one might come later on this year versusColby Covington However there is no scarcity of names on the shortlist, like Belal Muhammad or the victor of an approaching battle in between Gilbert Burns as well asJorge Masvidal Past that, there are potential customers like Shavkat Rakhmonov as well as also heavyweights that have actually made their hay in various other departments, like Islam Makhachev as well as Conor McGregor, apparently thinking about welterweight title battles.

Usman had an amazing perform at the top of 170 extra pounds, yet with him currently uncrowned, points are currently far more intriguing. The reset switch has actually been struck at welterweight, so allow’s have a look at what the coming year might appear like in among the UFC’s premier departments.

What does Edwards give the table as UFC welterweight champ?

Edwards is a practically skillful, well-shaped boxer. He revealed a various degree of self-confidence in the rematch versus Usman. The Jamaican-born boxer living in Birmingham, England, is rather booked. He does not frequently reveal his feelings, as well as seldom talks garbage. However you might see a modification in him this previous battle week.

Leon Edwards the champ has a much various ambiance than Leon Edwards the opposition. He’s not rather arrogant, yet there’s a peaceful self-confidence there.

Due to exactly how great Edwards is all over throughout a battle, he’ll be a hard competition for any kind of competitor coming his means. His kicks from the southpaw position are lightning-quick, his striking infraction is solid as well as he’s upsetting down. From the UFC’s point of view, Edwards may not be the most significant pay-per-view draw, yet he’s a champ that stands for England, as well as the UK has actually been a heated market for the promo of late. UFC 286 was a large box-office success as well as the UFC plainly will not mind having a UK-based champ.

That is one of the most worthwhile title opposition to Edwards’ throne?

That’s not a very easy inquiry. UFC head of state Dana White claimed in the postfight press conference Saturday that he thinks it’s Covington which he will certainly obtain the following title shot. Edwards really did not appear to be right into that concept, claiming he’s unsure Covington makes good sense as well as the champ need to determine. Absolutely, from a résumé point of view, it’s difficult to reject Muhammad, that is unbeaten in 9 straight battles. The only non-victory because stretch? A no-contest versus Edwards in 2021 because of an unintentional Edwards eye poke. So, there’s a tale there, also.

There would certainly additionally be one hell of a tale if Masvidal were the following challenger for Edwards. In 2019, Masvidal as well as Edwards entered a physical run-in after an occasion in England. Later, Masvidal created what has actually ended up being a legendary line in mixed martial arts parlance. Masvidal claimed he struck Edwards with a “three piece and a soda,” describing a boxing mix, as well as it went viral. Obviously, Masvidal gets on a three-fight losing touch as well as has a battle versus a hard challenger in Burns at UFC 287 on April 8. Burns, a previous title opposition versus Usman, would certainly additionally be right there in the mix for a title shot if he defeats Masvidal.

The factor Covington as well as Masvidal remain in the title discussion is easy. The UFC is a service. It’s a promo. It’s not a merit-based sporting activities organization. That’s something worth bearing in mind when White takes the press conference dais as well as claims that Covington is most deserving. What he actually implies is Covington stands to make the UFC one of the most cash as the following title opposition. Which’s penalty. This is simply the truth of the sporting activity. Though you can comprehend why a person like Muhammad may really feel shafted. He’s done whatever they claim you’re expected to do as a boxer to obtain a title shot.

Which boxer is readied to become a challenger in 2023?

With a nod to March Chaos, this response is a bang dunk: Rakhmonov. He’s currently a challenger in a feeling, yet he’s absolutely a rate behind the leading people now at welterweight. White claimed Saturday that the UFC is working with a battle in between Rakhmonov as well as Muhammad following. A win there might perhaps make Rakhmonov the No. 1 competitor. The important things is, he’s most likely to experience a comparable circumstance to what Muhammad is experiencing now. There are merely larger names– boxers that attract even more cash– in advance of him in the position.

Rakhmonov is a superb boxer as well as he’s just 28 years of ages. Ideally, the Uzbek-born Kazakh boxer captures on as a follower fave like Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in boxing did prior to him.

The value of being a celebrity additionally clarifies why there’s one more name that needs to be discussed right here, as high as the hardcore followers may crack up at the concept. Yes, if McGregor were to defeat Michael Chandler when that 170-pound battle occurs at time later on this year, after that McGregor would promptly rise right into contendership. Would certainly he “are entitled to” that? Would certainly it make good sense? No. However once more, the UFC is a service as high as it is a sporting activity, as well as McGregor places butts in seats at a better clip than anybody in the background of the market.

What does the following year appear like at welterweight?

It needs to be extremely appealing. White desires Covington next for the title shot, while Edwards differs. We understand that typically wins those fights, so Covington does promise. All eyes will certainly get on Burns vs. Masvidal in Miami following month, since the victor of that will certainly remain in the mix, together with Muhammad that may have the awkward job of inviting Rakhmonov to the globe of the 170-pound elite. If you take a look at the following team, there are some extremely skilled boxers like Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, Kevin Holland, Geoff Neal, Neil Magny, Sean Brady as well as Vicente Luque (to name a few) that are a win or 2 far from being right there, also.

Welterweight stays an impressive department. The UFC light-weight champ Makhachev also tossed his hat in the ring for a battle versus Edwards on Saturday, though I presume the UFC will certainly desire him to safeguard his very own title versus a real light-weight initial. We additionally can not neglect Usman himself, if he does undoubtedly select to function his back to a title shot.

One more name worth looking out for over the following twelve month? Jack Della Maddalena, the 26-year-old Aussie with electrical boxing abilities as well as knockout power. There is a layer or 2 of boxers in advance of him now. However in the following year, do not be shocked if he remains in the place that Rakhmonov remains in currently– simply on the cusp of being a genuine competitor. Additionally, if we’re speaking about 170 extra pounds, he may not remain in the UFC, yet Bellator welterweight champ Yaroslav Amosov is 27-0 as well as the outright genuine offer. He’s equally just as good as anybody on the UFC lineup at welterweight as well as worth taking a look at. Amosov simply returned from defending his nation of Ukraine to a leading title protection over Logan Storley last month.

Where does Kamaru Usman go from right here?

Usman followers need to be extremely motivated by his postfight meeting Saturday. He appeared determined as well as all set to solve back right into the fitness center (after a break, certainly) to function back towards the title. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto recommended a matchup between Usman and Thompson following which’s a fascinating clash of designs. It would certainly make a great deal of feeling. There is no scarcity of feasible challengers for him in a deep department.

As well as relying on what occurs with Edwards as the champ, Usman might be returned right into a title shot rather rapidly. Suppose Edwards battles Covington following as well as Covington wins? Usman currently has 2 sway Covington. He would certainly have a very easy instance to make that he needs to be following. Usman’s leading winning touch as well as title power may be over, yet his occupation is not as well as Edwards’ win was much from leading. Usman might effectively be back.

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