‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ Kamaru Usman is coming to put Leon Edwards to sleep when the two clash in the UFC 278 main event on Saturday night. Emanating from the Vivint Arena In Salt Lake City, Utah, the reigning welterweight king makes his sixth title defense against a man that hasn’t experienced what it’s like to lose a fight since 2015.
Unfortunately for Edwards, that last loss was to Kamaru Usman himself. Now they meet once again with UFC gold on the line, but this time much has changed between the two. Specifically on Usman’s side of the fence where he sits as the No. 1 ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world and is even scheduled to appear in Marvel Studios’ highly-anticipated film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Speaking about Kamaru Usman’s transformation over the years, Leon Edwards suggested that ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ has let fame and fortune get the best of him. “He looks like that guy from White Chicks… I don’t know what’s going on. The money’s getting to his head,” said Edwards.
Addressing the comments from ‘Rocky’ at the UFC 278 media day, the champion largely laughed off Edwards’s claim, but stressed that his success has come from hard work and dedication after years of struggling to even feed himself.
“That’s a good one. That’s exactly how I feel. Brother does a movie and now everyone says he’s Hollywood now. Guess what? When I was in college, eating five-dollar Little Caesars’s pizza, I was surviving off of that for two days and eating ramen noodles for the whole week. You know what I did. I dreamt of getting to a point where I didn’t have to do that.
“I could walk into any steakhouse, order whatever I wanted. I could tell my mom and dad, ‘hey you guys wanna go there? I got you. Let’s go there. You guys want to fly private? I got you, let’s do that.’ I always dreamt of doing that.”
Kamaru Usman Aspires to be One of The World’s Biggest Stars
Ready to make the most of his opportunities, Usman aspires to be bigger than ‘The Rock,’ but recognizes that it takes hard work. The champ is always willing to put in the effort necessary to get the opportunities that have and continue to make him a success.
“So I put the work in to get to the point where I always wanted silk shirts. Those cotton shirts, you wear them once or twice, they shrink on you. Now I can wear silk shirts. I always wanted that. I put the work in and I got that, but that doesn’t stop me. I want to be bigger than Dwayne Johnson. Bigger than him so that means I need more work. So this notion of when people say, ‘you’re Hollywood now, it’s going to his head,’ I think it’s ridiculous to me.”
While Kamaru Usman has been working on becoming one of MMA’s most successful superstars, Leon Edwards has been dispatching of every fighter the UFC puts in front of him since his loss to Usman in 2015. With nine straight victories over the last six years, ‘Rocky’ will finally get his time to shine in a world title main event.
“I’ve worked my ass off to get better and I’m significantly better now than I was,” Edwards said to Yahoo! Sports. “And I didn’t take damage like a lot of these guys. I got better each day and I’m still fresh and still at the top of my game.”