Kamaru Usman has nothing but praise for the new Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight champion, Leon Edwards.
This past weekend (Aug. 20, 2022) at UFC 278 in Salt Lake City, Utah, Edwards became only the second British UFC titleholder in promotional history. Down on all three of the judges’ scorecards heading into round five, Edwards needed a last resort maneuver to pull out the come-from-behind win against Usman. With only a minute left in the bout, Edwards landed cleanly with a left head kick heard around the world, knocking the “Nigerian Nightmare” from his perch as divisional kingpin (watch highlights).
Despite the loss being Usman’s second of his 22-fight career and first via knockout, the former five-time defending titlist is in good spirits just days removed from the upset.
“It was a great shot, I’m talking Hail Mary in the Super Bowl,” Usman told TMZ (h/t MMA Fighting). “That was a great shot, man.
“It’s not hard at all [to watch it],” he continued. “Do you know how many people I’ve done that to? It happened, and that’s the beautiful thing about this sport — that happens, but we forget what was actually taking place in that fight. I’m not down at all. It’s almost like everyone is more sad about it than I am. Everyone else is more emotional than I am. To me, that lets me know that people care, that people are invested. I’m so gracious with just the time, and it sucks that the attention is from a defeat. I thought I was famous before, but f—k, with the meme action going on, oh, I’m famous now.”
After being dominant for so long, nearly tying Anderson Silva’s UFC win streak record at 16, Usman feels somewhat revitalized with a new hunger coming from the loss and is eager to get back what he’d held since 2019.
Immediately following the bout, UFC President, Dana White, spoke to the media backstage at UFC 278 and expressed interest in putting on a trilogy bout between the two in Edwards’ home country of England. Hostile territory be damned, Usman is all for the idea as his next step toward reclaiming his title.
“What else makes sense? I mean, look at the division,” Usman said of the trilogy fight happening next. “It’s absolutely what’s going to happen next. I talked to Dana and we’re going to see, let him do his job, and we’ll see what date makes sense. It’s going to be the top of next year.
“I was going to try to squeeze [another] one in this year, but I want the top of next year, and I want to go to England,” he concluded. “I’ve been fiending to go to England. I feel like it’s my second home [because] England is like half Africa. People don’t know that, but it’s time to go over there and entertain the English people. And what better story? You couldn’t write this any better.”
For complete UFC 278 results and coverage click here.