Kamaru Usman to defend UFC welterweight belt vs. Leon Edwards at UFC 278 on Aug. 20

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The UFC's No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter has his next opponent.

UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman will defend his title against Leon Edwards at UFC 278 on Aug. 20, the promotion announced Saturday. The event will take place at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The fight is a rematch, as Usman defeated Edwards by unanimous decision in 2015. Neither fighter has lost since.

Since winning the belt against Tyron Woodley in March 2019, Usman has defeated Colby Covington twice, Jorge Masvidal twice and Gilbert Burns. He remains undefeated in the UFC and holds a career record of 20-1.

Edwards had been on an eight-fight win streak since his loss to Usman, but went nearly two years without a fight between July 2019 and March 2021. The UFC went as far as removing Edwards from its rankings after failing to figure out his next fight, with his lay-off ultimately ending against Belal Mugmmad after a Khamzat Chimaev fight fell through due to COVID-19.

The Edwards-Muhammad ended as a no-contest due to an accidental eye poke by Edwards. The welterweight went on to defeat Nate Diaz in his most recent fight, setting up a title shot.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 06: Kamaru Usman smiles against Colby Covington in their welterweight title bout during the UFC 268 event at Madison Square Garden on November 06, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman has his next opponent. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Edwards is the latest member of one of the UFC's most deep divisions to get a title shot. Should he lose, the possibility of a Chimaev title shot looms large after the rising star's win over Burns at UFC 273. Edwards is officially ranked as the UFC's No. 2 contender, while Chimaev as No. 3 (Covington remains No. 1).

Other fights reported to be in the works for UFC 278 include Luke Rockhold versus Paulo Costa and Victor Altamirano versus Jake Hadley.