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Kamaru Usman: Trilogy with Leon Edwards ‘absolutely what’s going to happen next’

The former UFC welterweight champion expects to challenge Edwards for the title by early next year. 

Kamaru Usman is excited to complete his trilogy against Leon Edwards.

The former UFC welterweight champion was on his way to a sixth defense at UFC 278 this past Saturday before the challenger finished the fight in its final minute with a stunning head kick. The loss was his first in the UFC and just his second as a professional, but Usman has stayed positive in the aftermath.

“It was a great shot,” said Usman in a recent interview with TMZ Sports. “A great shot. I’m talking Hail Mary in the Super Bowl, last 10 seconds. That was a great shot, man. Hats off to Leon.

“It’s not hard at all [to watch the fight],” continued Usman. “Do you know how many people I’ve done that to? It’s not hard at all. It happened. That’s the beautiful thing about this sport — that happens, but we forget what was actually taking place in that fight. So I’m not down at all. It’s almost like everyone is more sad about it than I am. Everyone is more emotional about it than I am. For me, it’s a good thing because it lets me know that people care, that people are invested.”

Usman and Edwards are now 1-1 in fights, with the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ defeating ‘Rocky’ by unanimous decision in their first bout at UFC on FOX over seven years ago. UFC president Dana White said at his post-fight press conference he wants Usman vs. Edwards 3 next and suggested it happen at Wembley Stadium in London.

The newly crowned champion has set his sights on his first defense being on his turf, especially since he is now the second British fighter to win a UFC championship. Though other options—such as the winner of Khamzat Chimaev vs. Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal have been floated—Usman sees himself as the only one who should be opposite of Edwards when he returns to the Octagon. And he is more than ready to travel to London for a chance at reclaiming what was once his.

“What else makes sense? I mean, look at the division,” said Usman. “What else makes sense? It’s absolutely what’s going to happen next. I talked to Dana and we’re going to see. I’ll let him do his job and we’re going to see what date makes sense. It’s going to be the top of next year.

“I was going to try and squeeze one in this year, but it’ll probably be top of next year and I want to go to England,” continued Usman. “I’ve been feening to go to England. I feel like England is my second home now. England is half Africa. People don’t know that, but it’s half Africa. So it’s time to go over there and entertain my English people, and what better story? You couldn’t write this any better. So I’m excited to see what’s next, and we will definitely figure something out.”