Dana White Says the ‘Weight’ of Being a Champion Has Been ‘Lifted’ From Kamaru Usman

Dana White discussed Kamaru Usman's mental state following his shocking knockout loss to Leon Edwards at UFC 278

Kamaru Usman
Courtesy of @UFC on Twitter

As the saying goes, it’s easier to get to the top than it is to stay at the top. According to UFC President Dana White, the weight of staying at the top has been lifted for Kamaru Usman

With five successful title defenses on his resume, ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ headed to Salt Lake City to defend it for the sixth time against Leon Edwards. The last time ‘Rocky’ saw a defeat was nearly seven years ago at the hands of Usman. Eager to avenge the loss and capture his first piece of UFC gold, Edwards shocked the world with a head kick knockout of Usman with less than a minute left in the contest. 

Following the loss, Kamaru Usman was in high spirits and even congratulated Edwards on his incredible victory. Following this week’s edition of the Dana White Contender Series, the UFC President spoke about Usman’s status following the shocking knockout. White suggests that the pressure of being a world champion finally got to Usman, but a weight has been lifted off his shoulders by finally taking an ‘L’ inside the Octagon. 

“We talked. He’s in great spirits,” White said on Tuesday. “Obviously he wants the rematch bad, but he said, ‘I can’t tell you the weight that’s been lifted off me.’ There’s a lot of pressure that goes along with the run that he was on and tying and breaking Anderson’s record. All that stuff, there’s a lot of pressure. So, he’s looking forward to the rematch.”

Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards Are Ready to Complete the Trilogy

Just days removed from the brutal knockout loss, Kamaru Usman is already amped up for a trilogy bout with Leon Edwards. With the rematch unlikely to go down before we’re well into 2023, ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ and ‘Rocky’ will both stay busy now that their roles in the UFC have drastically shifted.

“He’s (Edwads) down. He’s ready to defend,” White said. “He’s ready to take on whatever it is. He’s going on a whirlwind media tour when he goes home. A lot of stuff changes when you get that belt, so his whole world is about to change in the next few weeks, but he’s ready for it.

“Talk about somebody that’s had nothing but bad luck, and one of the things that we’re talking about is that kid accepted the Khamzat fight two or three times, who was unranked. He’s legit, man. That kid is legit and was down to fight anybody, anytime, anywhere. He just had a really great string of bad luck.”

While a rematch between Usman and Edwards is the likeliest scenario, a big welterweight showdown between Khamzat Chimaev and Nate Diaz is scheduled to headline UFC 279 on September 10th. ‘Rocky’ has said he would give Nate Diaz a shot at the welterweight title should he defeat Chimaev.

On the flip side, the UFC President said that Chimaev would be the next in line with a win over Diaz. Of course with the way things went down at UFC 278, the UFC’s plans will likely change significantly.

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