UFC 258 took place this past weekend at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. In the main event, UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman successfully defended his title by finishing Gilbert Burns in the third round.
After his fight, Usman called out a former opponent, while Burns said that he would like to get back inside the Octagon as soon as possible. The champion was also called out by Stephen Thompson, who is the only guy in the top five that ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ hasn’t fought yet.
Leon Edwards and Colby Covington are also looking for opponents. While Dana White last week revealed plans for The Ultimate Fighter season 29 to have two welterweights take on the coaching roles.
With a lot going in the division, let’s take a look at what could be next for all the stakeholders involved.
Kamaru Usman vs Jorge Masvidal
The last time the two fought, Masvidal filled in on six-days’ notice at UFC 251 for Burns, who pulled out after catching COVID. ‘Gamebred’ lost the fight via unanimous decision, but he gave the champion a tough time. The ATT representative has been actively throwing shade at Usman as well in the past few weeks, saying that if given a full camp, he could take the champion’s head off.
His online jabs have obviously worked as Usman called out Masvidal next after his win at UFC 258, and promised to finish him this time. There is also talk that the two fighters could feature on TUF 29. The fight makes sense too, because Prior to stepping in on short notice at UFC 251, the long-time contender was on a three-fight win streak, and deserved a title shot.
Leon Edwards vs Colby Covington
Leon Edwards vs Khamzat Chimaev has been booked and scrapped three times. Not prepared to wait any longer, ‘Rocky’ is looking for a new opponent, and so is Covington, who wants to fight Masvidal, but it doesn’t seem like a viable option at the moment.
It’s clear that Covington wants to fight Masvidal, but fighting the Edwards is better for his hopes for a title shot, as the Brit is riding an eight-fight win steak, and is ranked higher than ‘Gamebred’ at number three in the rankings.
Stephen Thompson vs Gilbert Burns
The number five ranked Thompson is itching for a fight with a top five contender, and while he hasn’t got a positive response from anyone yet, Burns might be the one willing to lock horns with him. After his loss to Usman at UFC 258, the Brazilian said that he wants to get back into the mix as soon as possible. For that, he needs a big win, and ‘Wonderboy’ is a big name at welterweight.
The winner of this fight is surely going to make a strong case for a title shot.
Khamzat Chimaev vs Nate Diaz
While Edwards has moved on from Chimaev, the UFC certainly hasn’t and when he comes back fully fit, ‘Borz’ is going to get a big name, and Nate Diaz is one of the most popular fighters in the sport.
Diaz has expressed his willingness to return to fighting at welterweight and has called out several lightweights including Dustin Poirier, and Charles Oliveira, who has turned the fight down. Realistically, the Stockton native doesn’t have a lot of options, and a fight with Chimaev would be a fan favourite.
Michael Chiesa vs The Winner Of Tyron Woodley vs Vicente Luque
With three defeats in a row, Tyron Woodley is going to need something special against Vicente Luque to break back into the top five. For the Brazilian-American, who sits at number ten in the rankings, a win is surely going to help him jump up a few spots.
However, Michael Chiesa, who sits at number six in the rankings, is going to make sure he is the one who enters the top five before anyone else below him. Therefore, it is quite possible that either Woodley or Luque cross paths with ‘Maverick’.
Belal Muhammad vs Li Jingliang
Belal Muhammad is being made to wait in his quest to climb the UFC welterweight ladder, but he is patiently doing his job. After his impressive win over Dhiego Lima at UFC 258, ‘The Bully’ said that he wants to fight Li Jingliang, who sits above him at number 12 in the rankings, and it is a great fight to make.
Which matchups do you want to see in the UFC welterweight division?