Having crossed the Atlantic to Salt Lake City in Utah, Edwards is just days away from his first title challenge on MMA’s biggest stage. The opportunity comes off the back of a 10-fight unbeaten run that includes victories over Rafael dos Anjos, Gunnar Nelson, and Nate Diaz.
If he’s to secure gold and his place as only the second UK champion in UFC history, “Rocky” will have to achieve a feat he failed to accomplish seven years ago — beat “The Nigerian Nightmare.”
In 2015, Usman made his first appearance since winning The Ultimate Fighter 21 welterweight tournament, using his wrestling to outpoint Edwards across three rounds. Since then, the 35-year-old has won 13 further contests, including a title-winning performance against Tyron Woodley and five subsequent defenses.
Having now broken the record for the most consecutive welterweight wins in the promotion’s history, Usman has cemented his spot atop the male pound-for-pound mountain, with the likes of UFC President Dana White not only branding him the P4P best in the world, but the overall 170-pound GOAT.
That sentiment, however, is not shared by the champ’s upcoming challenger.
Edwards: I Didn’t Feel The P4P Best In 2015
During his appearance at UFC 278 media day on Wednesday, Edwards spoke about the task ahead of him in Saturday’s pay-per-view main event.
While he acknowledged Usman’s talents, which has helped the Nigerian-born welterweight dispatch the likes of Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal, and Gilbert Burns, “Rocky” questioned those who brand him the P4P best, noting that he hasn’t seen anything from the champ, nor did he feel anything when they fought, to suggest that to be the case.
“All this pound-for-pound and all this — I just don’t see it,” Edwards said. “I didn’t feel it in the fight. I don’t see it in his techniques. I just don’t see it. He’s a very good fighter; he has improved, and I’m not going into this fight blinded thinking, ‘Oh, this is another wrestler again.’ It’s not. But yeah, I just don’t see the pound-for-pound thing, but fair play to him.”
While Usman will be looking to display exactly why he sits on the top step of the P4P ladder by adding a second victory over Edwards to his record on Saturday, the Englishman will be hoping to prove his words right and take the belt across the pond to the UK fanbase.
Can Leon Edwards shock the world by dethroning Kamaru Usman at UFC 278?