Rocky returns to the Octagon on Saturday in Glendale, Arizona for UFC 263 in the hopes of adding a statement name to his resume following an impressive run in the 170lb class.
Edwards’ last loss came against Usman in 2015, but after going undefeated in nine fights since then, he still wants a title opportunity.
The Birmingham based technician, who hails from Jamaica, went almost two years without fighting as he awaited the right moment — only to have his return fight against Belal Muhammad ruined by an inadvertent eye poke.
Victory over the famous Diaz on Saturday night would not only have great professional ramifications, but it would also provide Edwards with the star power he requires to help him achieve his title aspirations.
With Usman firmly in Edwards’ sights, former middleweight champion Bisping feels the 29-year-old can go a long way toward supplanting him as the last British UFC champion.
“I think 100% that Leon Edwards has to fight him next,” he told talkSPORT.com.
“He’s on a tear, he is on a roll, he is beating everybody and you cannot deny the man any longer. From a business perspective he is not the biggest star, but now he is going to beat Nate Diaz, so that box is ticked as well.
“Of course, Kamaru is going to fight Colby, so they will have to let that one take place and then let Kamaru recover.
“So the only problem with that is – you never know – Leon might get a little antsy and want to carry on with the momentum and take another fight. It’s a dangerous scenario because you can always lose, and if you lose, you’re right back to the bottom of the pile.
“So if I was Leon, when I beat Nate Diaz, I’d wait on the sidelines to fight Kamaru Usman and he is very capable.
“I think Leon is the toughest fight in the welterweight division for Kamaru Usman. The only problem for Leon is that Kamaru is so good.
“That’s not a knock against Leon; I’m not saying Leon is not good enough to beat him, I’m just saying that Kamaru is bloody good and he is getting better!
“Look what he just did to [Jorge] Masvidal – his striking is catching up with his wrestling. So while Leon is continuing to get better all the time and continues to put on these spectacular performances, so is Kamaru Usman.
“So I can’t sit here and say that he will beat Kamaru Usman, but it would be a very, very competitive fight and you never know.
“I’m proud that I was the first and only British champ, but it’s not going to stay that way!”