Reigning UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman revealed that he wanted to replace Nate Diaz and face Leon Edwards at Saturday's UFC 262 event.
Usman was speaking with ESPN's Brett Okamoto and said once he heard the news of Diaz's injury and withdrawal from the fight, that he called his manager Ali Abdelaziz to tell him he was interested in taking the matchup with Edwards on short notice.
“I’m crazy in the sense to where as soon as I heard about (Diaz’s withdrawal), I just landed here in Atlantic City for my brother’s fight. And I’m quarantined in my room,” Usman said (h/t MMA News) "And I hear about it. And I look around, and I look in the bathroom. So I pick up the phone, and I speak with my manager Ali, and I tell him, ‘Hey…” and he already knew what I was gonna say… I’m like, ‘Hey, I need to check my weight, and I’mma go put in some rounds in the morning. And depending on how I feel, we might be fighting next week. And he goes, ‘Are you kidding me?’ And I’m like, ‘Nah, we might be fighting next week."
Ultimately, Usman decided against taking what would've been a title fight rematch with Edwards on just eight days notice because he wants adequate time to be able to defeat any challenger from here on out in spectacular fashion.
"There's a lot I have to consider, now I have to consider putting my family through this again, my daughter through this without warning," the Nigerian champion said. "And I just felt that it would be bad and plus at the end of the day I don't want to just go out there and defend the title anymore, I wanna do it spectacularly."