For the most part, Kamaru Usman couldn’t possibly sound more serene about his loss to Leon Edwards. The loss of the championship title, the first knockout defeat of his career, he certainly has reasons to get down in the dumps if he’s looking for them. Instead, however, the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ seems to have shaken the whole thing off and is looking out ahead to the future.
“I was OK. I was maybe disappointed that I lost, but I wasn’t bummed like the first loss I had in my career,” Usman said on a recent episode of the Joe Rogan experience. “That one f-cked with me. It was the uncertainty of the future and also because there was nothing I could do, I couldn’t defend myself because I didn’t have the knowledge. That was what hurt me the most. … With this one it was like, I know my mistakes.”
Most of those mistakes, though, Usman knows from video replays of his bout. His actual memory of the event? That’s a lot more spotty. The champion was up big heading into the last minute of his title bout against Edwards at UFC 278 when the challenger hid a left high kick behind a 1-2 feint. Usman may have been back on his feet by the time the results were read, but there’s a lot more missing from his memory than just those couple minutes.
“I was good,” Usman said, recounting how he apparently must have felt immediately after the KO (transcript via MMA Fighting). “I watched the fight over, I’m good. I was talking, I talked to Trevor [Wittman], I talked to everyone, because you know you go back and then you go in the medical tent and they take care of you and all of that. I talked to my family, I hugged everyone, because it was on video and everything. I remember sitting. It was like, Leon gave me a 20-minute nap.
“I was laughing hysterically in the hospital because I had to go in to get scanned and all of that, which everything was fine. Immediately I come to, I’m in the ambulance, they’re asking, ‘Do you know where you are?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, Salt Lake City. UFC 278.’ They’re like, ‘What’s your date of birth?’ I answer them. They’re like, ‘Wow, perfect.’ I answered everything perfectly.”
In reality, it seems most of that conversation is a blank in terms of what Usman actually remembers. As far as he was concerned he went out there looking to set Edwards up for a couple more big punches—and then he was in the ambulance answering questions about if he knew where he was.
“I’m moving, moving, OK,” Usman remembered. “I’ve got him set up, which I really didn’t. I shake left, I shake right, and I’m sitting in an ambulance and they’re asking me, ‘Do you know where you’re at?’ I’m like, ‘What the f-ck?’”
In the immediate aftermath of the bout, talk immediately turned to a potential rematch between Usman and Edwards, this time in England, to settle their score once and for all. However, with UFC 279 upcoming and the chance that Khamzat Chimaev could walk away from the event with another big win under his belt, Edwards’ team recently made it known that they wouldn’t pass on a fight with ‘Borz’ first if that’s the direction the UFC wants to go.