Leon Edwards isn’t buying Kamaru Usman’s relief over losing his UFC welterweight championship.
Last August, ‘Rocky’ shocked the world when he delivered the ‘head kick heard ’round the world’ with less than a minute to go in his UFC 278 headliner against division rival Kamaru Usman. Immediately following his defeat, ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ feigned relief, suggesting the pressure of being a world champion was becoming a bit too much to deal with.
Speaking to the press at the UFC 286 media day, Edwards called bullsh*t on Usman’s comments, believing the former champion is just looking for a way to rebuild his confidence after suffering one of the biggest knockouts in the promotion’s 30-year history.
“I think if you get knocked out like that, you have to find something to clutch onto,” Edwards said. “He needs to build his confidence back up because before going into it, he thought he could never be taken down, be hurt, or knocked out. So I think he has to find something to clutch onto. He was winning the fight, but who cares? It goes down as you getting out-cold headshot and that’s all that matters. When it’s all said and done, a win is a win. Even on my worst day, my worst performance, I’ll still knock you out.”
Leon Edwards nearly choked when asked about Kamaru Usman dressing like Terry Crews 😂 #UFC286
"I'm going to open a door for him and give him a path to follow his fashion dreams." pic.twitter.com/FU6dAQfOsg
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) March 15, 2023
Leon Edwards Believes His KO of Kamaru Usman Will Have a Mental Effect on the Former Champion Come Saturday
While Leon Edwards’ knockout was about as definitive as you can get inside the Octagon, the fact remains that Kamaru Usman was less than 60 seconds away from a certain victory when ‘Rocky’ uncorked the massive head kick. Considering his success in their penultimate meeting, ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ may come into the bout looking to implement a similar strategy. Asked if that is what he expects from Usman in Saturday’s main event clash, Edwards said:
“Who knows? That’s the question, right? He’s 36 years old,” Edwards continued. “Been in many tough fights. He thought he could never be beaten and to be sparked like that, that does have a mental thing on you. I know like he pretends he doesn’t care and he’s happy he got knocked out because the pressure of being a champion was too hard. ‘I’m happy I got knocked out,’ but for me, that doesn’t make sense. So we’ll see on Saturday night if he makes a difference, but you best believe I’ll be trying to knock him out again.”
With Kamar Usman’s interest in fashion, acting, and a potential fight with boxing icon Canelo Alvarez, Edwards believes the two are on completely different paths, with Usman essentially having one foot out the door while ‘Rocky’ is ready to dominate his division from the top.
“Our mentality is in two different places. I feel like he’s on his way out and I’m gonna open the door for him and give him another path to follow his fashion dreams and follow wherever he wants to go.”