Usman was spotted last weekend at a regional mixed martial arts tournament in Lagos, Nigeria with a hand plaster. Since that day, there has been a lot of rumor that Usman may not compete against Edwards because of a hand injury.
Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards are set to square off in their highly awaited trilogy bout at UFC 286 in Edwards' home country of the UK on March 18, 2023.
In light of this, several people in the MMA world have been debating potential backup candidates that may face Leon Edwards in the event Kamaru Usman is unable to. However, Usman's manager Ali Abdelaziz has indeed posted a message on Twitter assuring fans that his client will face "Rocky" next.
"Please enough with the rumors, Kamaru is fighting León next, he is good to go. We bringing this belt back to where it belongs."
The UFC executive has already been aiming for an instant rematch since Edwards stunned Usman at UFC 278 in August with a sensational head kick, pulling off Knockout of the Year. Usman's 15-fight unbeaten run inside the octagon, which fell one shy of tying Anderson Silva's record of 16 straight victories in the UFC, was ended by the surprise come-from-behind victory by Edwards at UFC 278.
It should be noted that Kamaru Usman has consistently struggled with hand injury issues. He had a hand injury before his rematch with Colby Covington in November 2021, and it got worse throughout the contest.
Usman had hand surgery at the beginning of 2022, and then in August of that same year, he fought Edwards again. Edwards defeated him for the welterweight title. Usman is suffering from a second hand injury after that.