Usman will face Edwards in the UFC 278 headliner tonight in Salt Lake City, UT. He is returning to defend his 170lb title for the first time since his unanimous decision win over Colby Covington last November.
Usman and Edwards faced off near the beginning of their UFC careers back in 2015, with Usman earning a unanimous decision win. Edwards hasn’t lost since, with nine straight wins on the way to the welterweight title shot.
A lot has changed since their first matchup in the Octagon, and Usman is preparing for a dangerous Edwards to meet him in the cage tonight.
Kamaru Usman Praises Leon Edwards’ Striking Ahead Of Rematch
During a recent interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Usman explained his mindset ahead of his rematch against Edwards.
“I never want to get complacent, as former champions have… I have to remind myself that this is a very dangerous opponent,” Usman said. “Just because I beat the guy the first time, that doesn’t mean anything. It’s about who’s the best that night. He’s a dangerous enough opponent to — course he’s got the confidence to think that he can step in there and take that belt away from me. I have to give him that respect.
“I know that he is dangerous. He makes me a little nervous because, let’s be honest, he’s very, very sharp. I see it in his striking. He’s very fluid, he’s very swift, and he’s very — he’s just nice. That’s what I like to call him, he’s a nice fighter, a good fighter,” Usman continued. “His 1-2 comes out a lot swifter and slicker than my 1-2. But the difference is, when my 1-2 comes out, people go to sleep.”
Usman is the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world with recent title defenses against Covington, Jorge Masvidal, and Gilbert Burns. He’s also teased a potential move to light heavyweight if he can get past Edwards in this upcoming fight.
First thing’s first for Usman, who will likely face a tough stylistic matchup against Edwards. If his recent comments are any indication, he’s expecting a potential five-round war at UFC 278.
What is your early prediction for Kamaru Usman vs. Leon Edwards?