Edwards won the welterweight belt from Kamaru Usman on Saturday at Vivint Arena after knocking him out with a head kick in the fifth round of their main event fight. Edwards’ record is 19-3 in mixed martial arts competition and 11-2 in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Usman (20-2 MMA, 15-1 UFC) got out to a good start and won the first round of the fight. After that, he cranked up the pace and was able to win the middle three rounds on the scorecards. Even in the last round, he was still performing admirably up until Edwards delivered the knockout punch with just 56 seconds left on the clock, which resulted in a change of ownership of the championship belt.
“Going into it, I knew it was going to be a tough fight,” Edwards told reporters.
“I said it all week. But I believe I was the better man – but even though it was one my worst performances, it is what it is, I got a clean finish. … My body just wasn’t reacting the way it was meant to react. I don’t know if it was the altitude or not, but when I was backstage watching the other guys fight on TV, everyone was getting tired and gassing out. I was like, ‘Why is everyone getting tired?’ When I went out there after the first round I felt it. My body just wasn’t reacting.
“It wasn’t a cardio issue, it was just like my body wasn’t reacting. But I stayed focused, my coaches spurred me on and kept reminding me, ‘You’re still in the fight, you are the best, and fight until the end.’ That combination I was drilling with my coaches, that left-cross head kick, and it landed perfectly.”
“I knew going into it that more than likely we were going to have a rematch down the line,” Edwards said. “Whether it’s next or down the line, we’re going to have a rematch. He’s been a long champion, they’re saying he’s the pound-for-pound best all week. He was saying that he was the pound-for-pound best. He believed it, and as I said in the octagon, the belt doesn’t belong to nobody. It doesn’t belong to me or nobody. No man is meant to hold the belt for that long, and I said it all week that I felt like this was my moment. This is how it was meant to play out. All the layoff, all the COVID, that’s how it was meant to play out.”
Edwards indicated ahead to UFC 278 that he anticipated to even the score with his competitor to set up a trilogy bout after dropping a unanimous decision to Usman at UFC on FOX 17 in December 2015. This fight took place in December 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Edwards’ perspective on the matter has not shifted in the slightest despite the fact that he scored a clean knockout. As the fighter who entered the event riding the second-longest winning run in UFC history and having successfully defended his title five times in a row, Usman has a solid case for an immediate rematch.
After being dissatisfied with his overall performance at UFC 278, Edwards believes that he is capable of delivering a more comprehensive effort and would rather that the bout take place in his home country of England.
After watching Usman fall in the manner in which he did, “Rocky” has said that he is not going to take his moment of glory for granted now that he has finally reached the peak of the mountain after what has been a long and arduous trip to get there.