Michael Bisping is adamant Leon Edwards BAT Nate Diaz – then will present Kamaru Usman with the toughest challenge he’s faced as a UFC welterweight champion so far.
‘Rocky’ returns to the Octagon this Saturday at UFC 263 in Glendale, Arizona and hopes to add a statement name to his resume after an impressive run in the 170-pound division.
Edwards’ last loss came in 2015 against Usman, but although he’s gone undefeated in nine fights since then, he’s still clamoring for a title shot.
The Jamaican-born technician, who fights in Birmingham, has not fought for nearly two years as he waited for the perfect opportunity – only to see his comeback fight against Belal Muhammad crumble by a blow. accidental eye.
The victory over the legendary Diaz on Saturday night would not only hold enormous professional gravity, but also give Edwards the star power he needs to meet his title demands.
And with Usman firmly in the sights of the 29-year-old, former middleweight champion Bisping believes Edwards can take a big step forward to replace him as the last British UFC champion.
“I 100% think Leon Edwards has to fight him next,” he told talkSPORT.com.
“He’s on a tear, he’s on a roll, he beats everyone and you can’t deny the man anymore.” From a business standpoint, he’s not the biggest star, but now he’s going to beat Nate Diaz, so that box is checked as well.
“Of course Kamaru is going to fight Colby, so they’ll have to let this one play out and then let Kamaru recover.”
“So the only problem with that is – you never know – that Leon might get a little nervous and want to keep up the momentum and take another fight. This is a dangerous scenario because you can always lose, and if you lose you are back at the bottom of the pile.
“So if I was Leon, when I beat Nate Diaz I would wait on the sidelines to fight Kamaru Usman and he’s very capable.
“I think Leon is the toughest fight in the welterweight division for Kamaru Usman. The only problem for Leon is that Kamaru is so good.
“It’s not a blow to Leon; I’m not saying Leon isn’t good enough to beat him, I’m just saying Kamaru is damn good and he’s getting better!
“Look what he just did [Jorge] Masvidal – his strike catches up to his fight. So while Leon continues to improve all the time and continues to put in those spectacular performances, so does Kamaru Usman.
“So I can’t sit here and say he’ll beat Kamaru Usman, but it would be a very, very competitive fight and you never know.
“I’m proud to have been the first and only British champion, but it’s not going to stay that way!
BT Sport 1 will broadcast UFC 263: Adesanya v Vettori 2 live exclusively on Saturday 12e June with main card coverage featuring Leon Edwards vs. Natie Diaz starting at 3 a.m. For more information, visit bt.com/sport/ufc