Wed | Mar 22, 2023
Edwards-Usman III

Jamaica-born UFC champ bullish over defending title

Published:Saturday | March 18, 2023 | 1:07 AMOrane Buchanan/Staff Reporter
The moment Leon Edwards knocked out Kamaru Usman to become UFC Welterweight Champion in 2022.
The moment Leon Edwards knocked out Kamaru Usman to become UFC Welterweight Champion in 2022.

FOLLOWING HIS stunning TKO victory over Kamara Usman back in August 2022, Jamaica-born Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards will put his welterweight championship on the line later this evening against Kamara ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ Usman.

The fight, a third meeting between the pair, with both winning one apiece, is being viewed as the fight to settle all arguments about who is the king of the welterweight division.

In his pre-fight press conference at the London O2 Arena, the tough-talking Edwards, who enters the bout with 20 wins from 24 fights, believes that even on his worst day, he will still be able to defeat his opponent.

“Saturday night I’m going out there to show off and show out. I truly believe that this is my time and in the fight you’ll feel that. I know that he (Kamara Usman) has improved, I’m not delusional, but I truly believe that I’m better and I just can’t see him coming to United Kingdom and taking this belt back home,” said Edwards.

The 31-year-old Edwards hasn’t lost a fight since December 19, 2015 and interestingly, it was to Usman.

Now riding high on an 11-fight win streak, the reigning welterweight champion revealed that it will mean the world to defend his title on his turf.

“It would mean the world, this is my fourth fight at the O2 arena and I’ve made headlines on every occasion. Now here we are, March 18th, it’s going to be amazing knowing the road I’ve had to travel, no one gave me any chance, every one wiped me out and that built my character, it’s going to be good,” said Edwards.

In fierce opposition to Usman’s claim that he will ‘take his soul’, Edwards drew the now popular quote, ‘men lie, women lie, numbers don’t’, reminding the listening public that he’s never lost a fight on English soil.

“I’ve never lost in the UK, whether it was amateur or professional. I really thrive off the energy of the fans, family, and friends being here and it has always pushed me forward to do well. Tonight will be no different.”

According to organisers of UFC 286, history was created as tickets were sold out within minutes for the Usman vs Edwards mega clash. This, Edwards believes, augurs well for the rapid growth of mixed martial arts (MMA).

“I think MMA is growing massively and since the head kick to Usman, it’s been crazy, the fans are excited, so it will be another good night.”