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Stephen Thompson: Kamaru Usman possibly out of trilogy with Leon Edwards due to hand injury

Hand surgery could force Kamaru Usman out of his proposed trilogy with Leon Edwards.

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UFC 278: Usman v Edwards 2
Kamaru Usman during his welterweight title fight with Leon Edwards at UFC 278 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

According to Stephen Thompson, Kamaru Usman could be out of his proposed rematch with Leon Edwards due to a hand injury.

‘Wonderboy’ claims the trilogy is in jeopardy because ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ requires hand surgery and won’t be ready to fight ‘Rocky’ in March, which is when the UFC was targeting the rematch.

During a recent interview with Fred Talks Fighting (h/t BJPenn.com), Thompson revealed that the UFC is looking at Jorge Masvidal as a replacement, with the promotion targeting a striker vs. striker matchup in Usman’s potential absence.

“I’m still going for the title,” Thompson said. “I know the guys ranked above me right now are some heavy wrestlers but everybody wants to see me fight a stand-up fight. Which, I don’t mind at all. Any of those guys, Jorge Masvidal, Michel Pereira.”

“People are in-talks of me fighting Leon Edwards,” he added. “I know Kamaru Usman is having hand surgery, I know they want to fight somebody in March and they were looking at Jorge Masvidal. He’s a standup fighter, so it kind of inspires me a bit, our division is so wrestler-heavy, and Leon Edwards is a striker and he’s champ. So, anyone of those guys would be awesome.”

Edwards makes it no secret that he wants revenge on Masvidal over their backstage altercation in 2019 when Jorge blasted him with a ‘three-piece-and-a-soda’ at The O2 Arena in London, England. Edwards is expected to return to The O2 in March 2023 for his first welterweight title defense. He won the championship with a sensational last-minute KO of then-welterweight titleholder Kamaru Usman at UFC 278. The win saw him catapult to #3 in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings and cement his position as one of the best fighters on the planet.