SALT LAKE CITY – Leon Edwards stole the show as the sport’s best pound-for-pound fighter at UFC 278.
Edwards (MMA 19-3, UFC 11-2) claimed the welterweight championship from Kamaru Usman with a stunning rear head kick in the fifth round of a headline bout at Vivint Arena on Saturday.
After starting the fight strong and winning the first round, Usman (MMA 20-2, UFC 15-1) was able to pick up the pace and take the middle three rounds off the scoreboard. He was also doing well in the final frame when Edwards landed a perfect shot and forced the belt to change hands.
During the UFC 278 post-fight press conference, Edwards told MMA junkies and other reporters, “Going into the fight, I knew it was going to be a tough one.” I think it was better – but it was one of my worst performances, but for what it is, I got a clean finish… My body reacted the way it should. I don’t know if it was because of the altitude, but backstage watching the other players fight on TV, everyone was exhausted and out of breath. Are you all tired?” I felt it when I went out there after the first round. My body just stopped responding.
“It wasn’t a cardio issue, my body just didn’t seem to respond. But I stayed focused and my coach encouraged me and said, ‘You’re still in the fight, you’re the best, the combination I was practicing with my coach, that left cross head landed perfectly. “
After losing by unanimous decision to Usman at UFC on FOX 17 in December 2015, Edwards said he hopes to tie up his rivals to set up a trilogy fight ahead of UFC 278. rice field.
Even after scoring a clean knockout, Edwards’ stance on the situation didn’t change. Usman, who entered the fight with the second-longest winning streak in UFC history and his fifth consecutive title defense, insists he will make his trilogy of fights soon.
Edwards wants the fight to take place in his native England, and while he was unhappy with his work at UFC 278, he believes he can give a more complete effort.
“Rocky” had a long way to go to reach the top of the mountain. After seeing Usman fall like that, he said he did not take his moment of glory for granted.
“Going into this fight, we knew it was going to be a rematch,” Edwards said. Yeah, they said he was the best pound for pound, he said he was the best pound for pound, he believed it and I was an octagon. Like I said, the belt doesn’t belong to anyone. That’s how it should be played: all the layoffs, all the COVID, that’s how it was meant to be.”
For more information on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s UFC 278 events hub.