Saturday, September 24, 2022

Watch: Usman Reflects On KO Loss In First Post-UFC 278 Interview

Former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has given his first interview since being brutally knocked out by Leon Edwards at UFC 278.

This past weekend, Usman entered the Octagon in Salt Lake City’s Vivint Arena with a sixth successful title defense on his mind. Through four rounds, it appeared almost certain that “The Nigerian Nightmare” would be leaving Utah with that goal accomplished and having taken another step towards certain 170-pound GOAT status.

But putting a stop to those plans was the left leg of Edwards, which connected to the now-former titleholder’s head with just a minute of the fight remaining, securing one of the most shocking and memorable upset title wins in UFC history.

Not one to shy away from adversity, Usman was immediately vocal on social media, congratulating his opponent on levelling their series at 1-1 and ascending to the welterweight mountaintop.

Now a few days on from the upset that had the world talking, Usman has appeared in his first interview. Speaking to TMZ Sports, the Nigerian-born star first gave a positive update on his health and well-being, insisting that he’s in good condition both physically and mentally.

“I’m feeling great… I’m feeling good. I’m good, in good spirits,” Usman said. “It’s a fight. A fight’s a fight. It happens. I had to go to the hospital to get scanned and all of that; just the formalities. I was in and out. Everything is good, man.”

Usman later noted that he’s watched the fight three or four times since Saturday. After praising Edwards for a perfectly placed “Hail Mary” shot, the 35-year-old pointed to the fight-ending sequence as the beautiful aspect of mixed martial arts.

“It was just, what a shot. It was a great shot. A great shot,” Usman admitted. “I’m talking, Hail Mary in the Super Bowl, last 10 seconds. That was a great shot. Hats off to Leon… I’ve watched the fight now three or four times… It’s not hard (to watch) at all. You know how many people I’ve done that to? It’s not hard at all. It happens. That’s the beautiful thing about this sport.”

And while knockout memes and images of his unconscious body wouldn’t have been the outcome he expected heading into the UFC 278 main event, especially having incited a similar reaction at UFC 261 last April, Usman is taking it all in his stride.

In fact, even though it’s come in defeat, the former welterweight king noted that the devastating setback has shown him how “invested” people are in his career, which he is grateful for.

“Everyone’s more sad about it than I am. Everyone’s more emotional about it. That’s because, for me, it’s a good thing,” Usman suggested. “It lets me know that people care, people are invested… It sucks that the attention and this is just from a defeat, but it’s like, I’m so gracious to be in a place in time now to where people just care that much. I thought I was famous before, but with the meme actions going on? I’m famous now.”

Usman “Excited” For The Future

Attention is already beginning to turn to what appears to be a certain trilogy fight between Usman and Edwards. And having been sent sleeping to the canvas on August 20, “The Nigerian Nightmare” said he’s already motivated by the prospect of retribution.

“It’s just an added hunger to return. I’m just excited for what’s next,” Usman said. “I have a rare opportunity now to just inspire and motivate and show people that you can fall and get back up. I’m excited about that.”

In terms of a timeline, Usman suggested that early 2023 will likely make sense for his third dance with “Rocky.” And having seen UFC President Dana White tease a trip across the pond for the trilogy, Usman expressed his desire to regain the gold in enemy territory.

“I talked to Dana and we’re gonna see. We’re gonna see what date makes sense… Probably top of next year, and I wanna go to England,” Usman revealed. “I feel like England is my second home. England is half-Africa. People don’t know that, but it’s half-Africa. So, it’s time to go over there and entertain my English people.

“And what better story. You couldn’t write this any better. I am excited to see what’s next… I like Leon, I’ve always liked Leon… I’m very happy for him. In a sense — not the same path or the same journey that I took — but in a sense, he kind of reminds me of me. This is great for his story, and it’s even greater for my story,” Usman added. “He’s wanted to fight in London for a while, and now you’ve got it. And it’s a big one; a mega fight.”

Catch Kamaru Usman’s first post-UFC 278 interview below:

What do you make of Kamaru Usman’s response to his knockout loss this past weekend?

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