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Both Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman have affirmed that they will happily defend the UFC welterweight belt against Conor McGregor after their 170lb title clash this weekend. McGregor is set to return to the Octagon later this year against Michael Chandler and has his eyes set on becoming the first three-weight world champion in the company’s history.
Speaking during a recent appearance on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, the Irishman was asked whether he would like to take on the winner of Edwards and Usman. To which, he replied: “Yeah, I’d like a welterweight title shot. So I would like that.”
“I may be present for the card. We are making moves at the Black Forge in London, so I was scheduled to go out there so after this.”Gunni’s [Gunnar Nelson] also on the card so it would be good to see him live. It would be good to watch that welterweight title for sure.”
When one journalist brought up McGregor’s challenge the rivals both declared their interest in contest against Notrious. Edwards said: “As the king, I welcome all challengers so whoever comes can get it.”
Meanwhile, the former champion, Usman added: “I’ve always said I’d welcome it so if it happens it happens.” Usman had previously pushed for the fight with McGregor during his reign as champion while his manager Ali Abdelaziz proposed a four-man tournament for the title involving Nate Diaz, McGregor, Usman and Edwards.
However, with McGregor sidelined for nearly two years thanks to a broken leg sustained in his third fight with Dustin Poirier no such plans could be hatched. But before a McGregor fight can be entertained Usman and Edwards square off for a third time at the O2 Arena on Saturday and had a lot to say to each other.
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Bringing up his victory in their inaugural encounter, Usman said: “What was the excuse for the first fight?” Edwards replied: “What was the excuse for the f***ing head kick you got?” to a chorus of cheers.
Usman then prodded at his rival again by mimicking the words of Edward’s coach Dave Lovell during their rematch. ““You’re letting him bully you, son. Don’t let him bully you son,” he repeatedly shouted.
But Edwards shrugged off the remark. “He’s not thinking straight, he’s concussed,” laughed the Brit.
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