But Edwards heads into UFC 286 with his name in pencil atop the division, with fans, media and everyone else waiting to see if he can beat Usman a second time before they’re ready to. recognize him as UFC Welterweight Champion by writing his name in large, bold, indelible type.
As for Usman, the fact that he’ll be the first to step into the Octagon this weekend and won’t be billed as “the reigning, reigning, undisputed UFC welterweight champion” for the first time in four years does not. seem to bother him.
“When Bruce says, ‘the challenger’, I feel nothing; I don’t feel anything,” he said when asked about Bruce Buffer’s impending presentation on Saturday night. “The only thing is when he says my name, I step forward and let the whole cage feel my presence, including everyone in there, and that’s the only thing they feel, and then we start to rumble.
“When he introduces me as ‘the challenger,’ it doesn’t really matter,” he repeated. “I’ve run to a lot of different stadiums and schools and booed the guys at this school, so it doesn’t matter.”