Usman vs. Edwards was the expected title matchup, and the UFC was just waiting on Usman to recover from February hand surgery before booking the fight.
ESPN has Usman ranked as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. At welterweight, Usman is ranked No. 1 and Edwards is No. 4. The two have met before, with Usman beating Edwards via unanimous decision in December 2015.
Usman (20-1) has won 15 straight UFC fights, the second most in promotion history behind Anderson Silva's 16 in a row. The Nigerian-born fighter is coming off a unanimous decision victory over rival Colby Covington at UFC 268 last November. Usman, 35, has five successful welterweight title defenses after winning the belt in March 2019.
Edwards (19-3, 1 NC) has not fought since a unanimous decision win over Nate Diaz at UFC 263 in June 2021. The Jamaican-born England resident is unbeaten in 10 straight, without a loss since he fell to Usman seven years ago. Edwards, 30, has beaten the likes of Vicente Luque, Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone and Rafael dos Anjos en route to the title shot.
The UFC has not visited Salt Lake City since Aug. 6, 2016, a UFC Fight Night card headlined by Yair Rodriguez vs. Alex Caceres. UFC 278 will be the first UFC pay-per-view card in the city and only the second UFC event there ever.