Leon Edwards is feeling assured forward of his trilogy bout with Kamaru Usman.
At UFC 278, Edwards pulled off one of many best comebacks in MMA historical past, knocking out Usman with a last-minute head kick to assert the welterweight title. With Usman successful their preliminary battle again in 2015, that arrange the trilogy bout, which can headline UFC 286 in March. And with the way in which issues went final time, Edwards believes followers can be listening to “And nonetheless!” come battle night time.
“I do know he’s good. I’m not deluded. I do know he’s fighter, however I actually consider that I’m higher,” Edwards mentioned on The MMA Hour. “I’m taking the boldness from understanding I can take him down, understanding when it hits the mat and I’m on high, I’m method higher, understanding I can knock him out. I can take all of the added confidence that I had anyway into the following battle.”
Oddsmakers disagree with Edwards, with Usman currently installed as a -245 favorite, implying a 71 % win likelihood. However “Rocky” notes he has a number of benefits coming into the trilogy bout. For one, UFC 286 takes place in London, giving him the hometown benefit. Additionally, together with the boldness he gained from the knockout, there’s a query of if that knockout loss, the primary of Usman’s profession, will change him.
“It’s an hour away from my home,” Edwards mentioned. “I don’t should journey. It’s a simple drive. I can go down on a Tuesday. I don’t have to go away two, three weeks early. I can really end my camp in Birmingham and go to London with my group.
“So far as the knockout goes, let’s see how he reacts. I’m not likely banking on him being gun-shy. I’m going on the market to organize for the Usman there’s. We’ll see. I’ve mentioned it time and time once more, that devastating knockout does change fighters. I’ve seen it in boxing, I’ve seen it in blended martial arts, let’s see how he reacts once I beginning sinking them pictures in direction of his head. It’s going to be good.
“Yet one more level, I’ve by no means misplaced within the U.Ok., novice or professional. I’ve by no means misplaced a battle within the U.Ok. For Usman to come back to the U.Ok., my headline present, in London, for the belt, I simply can’t see how he will get it accomplished. I’m excited for it. I can’t wait.”
Plus, there’s the matter of altitude. UFC 278 passed off in Salt Lake Metropolis, the place the altitude dramatically affected a variety of fights on the cardboard, together with, Edwards says, theirs. The welterweight champion maintains that Usman’s success within the rematch, earlier than getting knocked out, was partly as a result of excessive altitude taking part in havoc with him.
“That was about 40 %, 50 % of what I’m,” Edwards mentioned. “He was positive, however I keep in mind considering in my head, ‘This man isn’t even that good!’ My physique simply wasn’t working for some purpose. Whilst he was hitting me, wailing on my guard, in my head I’m considering, ‘This motherf***** isn’t that good.’ I simply couldn’t get my physique to work. It wasn’t working for some purpose. I may suppose in my head what I wished to do, however my physique wasn’t reacting.
“It was a bizarre feeling that I’ve by no means felt earlier than. If he approaches like that, it’s going to be a foul night time for him. However I’m ready for the most effective Usman there’s. It’s been a protracted highway to get to this place, I can’t get right here after which give it away like that. I’ve to point out these motherf******. It’s going to be good.”
UFC 286 takes place on March 18 on the O2 Area in London.