The UFC are looking to put together a super card of fights for their return to the UK, with UFC president Dana White targeting a big-time pay-per-view event early in 2023.
The event, which he hinted would take place in the first two months of the year, will be headlined by the welterweight championship trilogy fight between England’s newly-crowned champion Leon Edwards and former champion Kamaru Usman, and White told BT Sport that he is already eagerly anticipating heading across the pond for another spectacular night on British soil.
“We’re coming back to England with the rematch,” he said.
“Leon Edwards, in his home country, in England. It’s been so long – I’m getting goosebumps – t’s been so long since we brought a big title fight back to the to the UK. And we’re gonna make that card look like this (UFC 280) card. And I’m so excited because you know how much I love the fans in England and the UK – I still got goosebumps! Yeah, I’m pumped. Yes, we will be back in England.”
The UFC took a loaded card to Abu Dhabi for UFC 280, and based on his comments, it seems he’s planning to do the same for the UFC’s next event in the UK. Gently prodded by BT Sport’s Adam Catterall, White discussed the potential of making the event a stadium show, with Catterall attempting to allay White’s fears of the inclement British weather with the suggestion of the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, which can house 74,500 under a closed roof for events.
White’s preference is clearly to hold the event in London, where The O2 Arena has been the UFC’s regular home for UK shows. But the lure of a stadium show clearly has White’s interest piqued.
“The fight’s going to be Jan or Feb. We can’t be screwing around in England and can’t screw around in England without a roof anywhere with doing fights. I mean, let’s let’s face it, it rains most of the time there, and it’s freezing!” he grinned.
“We had to refuel at Shannon, Ireland on the way here. I said, ‘I’m gonna get off the plane’ and it’s freezing. You know what I mean? It was freezing out. It’s October and it’s freezing already. So I want to do a stadium.
“You think that if I do a stadium in Cardiff, we sell out?”
Catterall’s instant response was, “Easy. Like that,” prompting White to state that “I’m gonna look at it.”
White also revealed that he plans to give Khamzat Chimaev one more chance to compete at welterweight after his disastrous weight miss that forced a complete fight card reshuffle at UFC 279 earlier this year. And, with rumours linking Chimaev with a potential bout with former interim champion Colby Covington, White also hinted that the bout could potentially take place on the same card as Edwards and Usman’s trilogy bout.
“Khamzat wants to fight at 170? Okay, I’m gonna give him one more opportunity to fight at 170. He needs to deliver and make the weight. And I would love to do that fight in England,” he revealed.
“I’m telling you. I’m going to bring a badass card to England. The English fans have been incredible, they’re so fun. They bring such great energy to the place. And then finally, I mean, when Leon Edwards won that fight, I literally walked right in the back and said, ‘We’re going to England, boys. Move this whole schedule. We’re going to England.’
“Yeah, so England deserves this. And Leon Edwards deserves this. And I’m excited. I can’t wait.”