In what will no doubt be a sure-fire contender for Upset of the Year come the end of 2022, Jamaican-born Brit Edwards ended the reign of Usman in the UFC 278 main event last month.
Through four rounds in Utah, “The Nigerian Nightmare” had taken control of the contest and appeared firmly on the way to another convincing title defense. But in a moment that shocked MMA enthusiasts around the globe, “Rocky” added the first blemish to Usman’s UFC record with a perfectly set up and brutal head kick.
While many gave Edwards the credit he deserved for delivering one of the most memorable and seemingly unlikely come-from-behind wins in recent memory, some looked to downplay his accomplishment, dismissing the result as nothing but ‘luck’.
In regards to the general term, Usman agrees. But the former champ has rejected the idea that the kick itself was the product of fortune.
Usman: Edwards’ Kick Wasn’t Lucky, The Opportunity To Land It Was
Appearing on episode #128 of the JRE MMA Show, Usman reflected on the first KO loss of his career with renowned UFC color commentator Joe Rogan.
Having consistently been gracious in defeat post-fight, congratulating Edwards on the triumph and reiterating how thankful he is for the support he has from his family and fans, Usman continued that trend on the podcast.
Discussing the narrative that Edwards’ title win came from a “lucky” kick, Usman referred to the video that was released post-UFC 278 that shows the Brit drilling the shot and its setup in training.
With that, “The Nigerian Nightmare” insisted that rather than the kick itself being a fluky strike, the fact that the opportunity presented itself late in the day was the only luck involved.
“I don’t like the notion of everybody saying, ‘He got lucky!’ Yeah, he got lucky, yeah, of course. But luck, to me, is not what everyone is saying,” Usman said. “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. That’s luck to me. You can’t tell me that Leon didn’t train that kick. Of course he did! I’m not even a southpaw and I train that kick. I know he trained that kick, and there’s a video out.
“That’s what a well-rounded, number-one contender mixed martial artist in the world should do. Of course he trained that. So, yeah, he did get lucky. He prepared to be able to land a kick like that; I presented him with the opportunity, and he landed the kick, and here we are,” Usman added. “People are trying to take away from his win. No, he landed a good kick and he put me out.”
With a trilogy fight appearing to be the logical next step for both men, Usman will look to avoid presenting the champ with another opportunity to turn out his lights. On the flip side, “Rocky” will hope to eliminate any calls of luck by defeating “The Nigerian Nightmare” for the second time.
Do you agree with Kamaru Usman’s assessment of the kick that brought Leon Edwards UFC gold?