Leon Edwards never bought into the narrative that Kamaru Usman was the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world heading into their welterweight title fight at UFC 278.
Having shared the cage with Usman in the past, Edwards knew ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ wasn’t unstoppable and that the 35-year-old was possibly a victim of his own hype heading into the rematch.
Edwards reminded Usman and the rest of the world that ‘the belt belongs to nobody’ after flattening the latter with a head kick in the final minute of the fight to mark one of the greatest knockouts (and comebacks) in UFC history.
‘Rocky’ maintains that Usman was never P4P #1 despite what the rankings said and always believed he was the more skilled and well-rounded fighter.
“Like I said, I didn’t build him to be this pound-for-pound GOAT everyone says he is. I’ve said it all week, I don’t believe that he’s the pound-for-pound yet. You have to be better than just wrestling and boxing, you know? And I’m a mixed martial artist, I can do it all.”
“I took him down in the first round, never been took down before. So I broke the 100% record. Took him down, got the back, going for the choke, he did a good job defending the choke. After that for some reason my body just wasn’t reacting. I don’t know whether it’s the altitude or what it was. But even when I was back stage and I was watching other guys fighting, Luke and everyone else. Everyone was getting tired and gassing out. I didn’t understand what it was. But even on my worst night, I beat the pound-for-pound.”
Edwards beat Usman to become the second British fighter to win a UFC title after Michael Bisping knocked out Luke Rockhold to win the middleweight belt in a similar upset victory back in 2016 at UFC 199.