The world of mixed martial arts is still reeling from Leon Edwards‘ incredible UFC 279 knockout of Kamaru Usman. After 19 straight victories and nearly a decade without a defeat, ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ fell to a beautifully timed head kick by ‘Rocky’ with less than a minute to go win their world title main event.
Speaking to TMZ Sports, Kamaru Usman talked bout how he has dealt with the shocking loss since it all went down.
“The crazy thing is, they truly say when you’re a wrestler and when you wrestle the way that we have… That I have, wrestling prepares you for so much. I’ve had seasons of wrestling to where I would be in a tournament, losing a tournament and it’s like, ‘dammit, I lost.’ But you gotta go back. You got the next one coming next week. Boom, you gotta be able to get up for that.
“If you’re still dwelling on the last one, boom, you lose again, you lose again. Then you get into a funk. Wrestling prepared me. I was able to, you know, you lose this week, guess what? You bounce back the next week and just run the whole tournament. And you win it. Wrestling has prepared me to be able to deal with this and bounce back. We know what happened the last time I tasted defeat.'”
Kamaru Usman Never Once Considered Coasting at UFC 279
After a strong first round from Leon Edwards, Kamaru Usman took control of their UFC 279 showdown. A noticeably dejected ‘Rocky’ seemed all, but out of the fight as the minutes continued to pass in each round. Even as he approached the final round undeniably favored on the judges’ scorecards, Kamaru Usman had no intentions of coasting for the final five minutes. It was a noble decision, but one that ultimately cost him
“When I watched the fight over I was listening to the commentary and they were talking about that. That’s not who I am. When I fight, there’s a reason I go… I’m pedal to the metal and I don’t look at the clock. I know some people have noticed and say to me, ‘why don’t you look at the clock?’ I’m going. I’m a goer. I’m non-stop, I’m going. I don’t look at the clock. I hear the bell, in my head, I still want to go and the clock is… The referees like, ‘hey, break. Go to your corners.’ I still want to go. I never really look at the clock. I’m pedal to the metal and that’s the way that I fight. And I wanted to finish. It was just a beautiful technique. I could have taken him down, but I really wanted to finish.”
Kamaru Usman appears to be handling the loss remarkably well and remains confident that he will rise up once again, as all champions do when faced with adversity.
“Champions fall, but then they get back up and show you why they’re champions.”