The former UFC welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, was dominating in his title defense against Leon Edwards. But all of a sudden that dominance was shattered when Edwards knocked out Usman with a ferocious kick, in the very last minute of the fight. Usman was left flat on the canvas. The loss broke his 19-fight-long win streak, dethroned him from the pound-for-pound ranking, and now he is no longer on the top of the division.
Usman shared his memories of the fight's ending on The Joe Rogan Experience, and while he claimed to be in good health, the aftermath of Usman’s first KO loss is spotty at best.
“I was good,” Usman said. “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.”
Kamaru Usman added that he was furious when he couldn’t defend the takedown attempt by Edwards. He claimed that he was more upset with that takedown in the first round instead of the loss. Usman knew that he lost that round on all three judges’ scorecards but eventually backed it up with strong control in the next three rounds.
“In the first round, the fight is going on and boom, that situation happens,” Usman said. “He hooked my leg, and this is my bad knee — both of them aren’t the greatest — so I’m like, OK let me hip him through. I tried to hip him through but he had a great position, kudos to him, and I get taken down. That I was probably more upset about, giving up that takedown. I was like, ‘F***! I gave up a takedown.’
The Nigerian Nightmare further revealed that he wanted to step up Leon Edwards in a dramatic finish just like he did against BMF Jorge Masvidal in a rematch. But the plan didn’t work out for the former champion as Rocky struck before Usman could cast his spell.
“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?’”
Even though Usman appeared to be healthy, he was sent to the hospital for further testing, giving him plenty of time to reflect on his loss. He finds solace in knowing that the knockout that cost him his title was the result of his blunders and had nothing to do with Edwards' luck. The rematch talks immediately started to settle their score on Britain's soil. The trilogy fight might get delayed a little longer with UFC 279 upcoming and if Khamzat Chimaev beats Nate Diaz, then there is a possibility that UFC might match up Rocky with the Swede for his first title defense.