Usman vs Edwards-A Welterweight Rivalry Rekindled


Usman vs Edwards- The UFC welterweight division has been dominated by one name for years: Kamaru Usman. However, Leon Edwards emerged as a persistent challenger, culminating in their highly anticipated trilogy. This article delves into the history of this rivalry, the recent epic encounter at UFC 286, and what the future holds for these two elite fighters.

A History of Rivalry: From Decision to Knockout

The first meeting between Usman and Edwards took place in December 2015 at UFC on Fox: dos Anjos vs. Cowboy 2. A young and upcoming Usman secured a unanimous decision victory, showcasing his wrestling prowess and well-rounded skillset. However, the fight was largely uneventful, leaving a question mark regarding Edwards’ potential.

Fast forward seven years and Edwards had transformed himself into a dangerous contender. He racked up impressive wins, including a stunning head-kick knockout of Rafael dos Anjos. This earned him a rematch with the reigning welterweight champion, Usman, at UFC 278 in August 2022.

The second fight was a much different story. Edwards displayed significant improvement in his striking, utilizing sharp kicks and elusive footwork to keep Usman at bay. The fight was closely contested, with both fighters showcasing their strengths. However, the narrative shifted dramatically in the final minute of the fifth round. With Usman seemingly controlling the pace, Edwards landed a perfectly timed head kick that knocked the champion unconscious, earning a stunning comeback victory and the welterweight title.

This shocking knockout reignited the rivalry and left fans clamoring for a trilogy fight.

UFC 286: Redemption or Repeat?

The rubber match, UFC 286: Edwards vs. Usman 3, took place in June 2023. This highly anticipated bout lived up to the hype, delivering a close and strategic fight.

Usman, determined to reclaim his title, came out with renewed focus. He targeted Edwards’ legs with persistent leg kicks, aiming to slow him down and create takedown opportunities. Edwards, however, remained resilient, his improved takedown defense proving effective. He continued to utilize his sharp jab and leg kicks, keeping Usman at distance.

The fight unfolded as a chess match, with both fighters constantly adapting their strategies. Rounds were close, with neither man gaining a decisive edge. The crowd roared with every exchange, recognizing the significance of the encounter.

In the end, the judges awarded Edwards a narrow victory by split decision. This decision was met with mixed reactions, with some believing Edwards deserved a clearer win and others arguing for Usman’s dominance in wrestling exchanges.

However, the result solidified Edwards’ reign as welterweight champion and cemented his place as a true force in the division.

What’s Next for Usman and Edwards?

Following the trilogy, both fighters are at an interesting crossroads in their careers.

Kamaru Usman:  After a dominant reign and two losses to Edwards, Usman’s future path is uncertain.  While a clear desire to reclaim the belt exists, some question if a stylistic change is necessary.  He might explore working with a different striking coach to further develop his stand-up game.  Alternatively, focusing on a weight class move to middleweight could present a fresh challenge.

Leon Edwards: As the newly crowned champion, Edwards has the welterweight division at his feet.  Potential contenders include Colby Covington, who has a history with both Usman and Edwards or Khamzat Chimaev, the rising star with a ferocious fighting style.  Edwards‘ next fight will be a crucial test to solidify his championship status.

There’s also the possibility of a fourth fight between Usman and Edwards,  UFC rarely lets rivalries die easily, especially when pay-per-view sales are involved.  However,  both fighters might need some time to recover and explore other options before potentially facing each other again.

The Legacy of the Trilogy

The Usman vs. Edwards trilogy has left a lasting impact on the UFC welterweight division. It showcased the evolution of Edwards from a prospect to a champion, while highlighting the resilience and fighting spirit of Usman.

The trilogy also demonstrated the depth of talent in the welterweight division. With Edwards at the helm, exciting matchups and new rivalries are sure to emerge in the coming years.

The internet, particularly platforms like YouTube: is a treasure trove of content related to this rivalry. Fans can find highlights of all three fights, as well as post-fight interviews and analysis from MMA experts. Additionally, many fighters and coaches have YouTube channels where they offer insights into the strategies employed by Usman and Edwards.

This trilogy has undoubtedly been one of the most compelling rivalries in recent UFC history.


Q. What was the result of Usman vs Edwards 3?

Leon Edwards won the fight by a close majority decision (48-46, 48-46, 47-47) against Kamaru Usman, retaining his UFC Welterweight Championship title. This was their third fight, following a prior win by Usman and a non-decision bout.

Q. When and where did Usman vs Edwards 3 take place?

The fight took place on March 18, 2023, at The O2 Arena in London, England, as part of UFC 286.

Q. How did the fight go?

It was a close fight throughout. Usman pressured Edwards, attempting takedowns, while Edwards countered with effective leg kicks. A point deduction for a foul by Edwards in the second round added another layer of tension. Ultimately, the judges favoured Edwards’ leg kick strategy and resilience.

Q. Is there a replay of the fight available?

While I cannot share links directly, you can search for “UFC 286: Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman 3 Recap” on [YouTube] to find videos of the fight.

Q. Who will Edwards fight next?

UFC president Dana White indicated that Colby Covington is likely to get the next shot at the Welterweight title after Edwards’ successful defense against Usman.

Q. What’s next for Usman?

Usman will likely need some time to recover after three grueling fights with Edwards. After that, it will be interesting to see how he strategizes his return to the title picture, potentially facing other contenders in the Welterweight division.

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Jyoti Kumari

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