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Leon Edwards says physique ‘simply shut down’ at UFC 278, credit coaches for comeback: ‘They knew how you can press my buttons’

Leon Edwards says physique ‘simply shut down’ at UFC 278, credit coaches for comeback: ‘They knew how you can press my buttons’

Leon Edwards admits that doubt began to creep in at UFC 278 towards Kamaru Usman, however added his coaches helped preserve him within the battle to attain his comeback knockout.

This previous Saturday, Edwards won the welterweight championship with a shocking fifth-round knockout of Usman in the primary occasion of UFC 278. Behind on the scorecards with lower than one minute left within the battle, Edwards unleashed a left head kick that put Usman out chilly. However for nearly as good because the comeback was, “Rocky” believes the elevation in Salt Lake Metropolis might have prevented an excellent higher efficiency.

“At the back of my thoughts I assumed, ‘Why is everybody getting drained?’ I used to be watching it considering I gained’t get drained as a result of I’ve been right here for 2 weeks, I slept in altitude at dwelling – I in all probability gained’t really feel it,” Edwards mentioned on The MMA Hour when requested how he felt warming up beforehand. “So I used to be watching it backstage, and I used to be considering behind my head as I used to be warming up, ‘S***, why is everybody getting drained?’ After we went on the market, after the primary spherical, I can’t clarify it, my physique simply shut down. It was only a bizarre feeling. It wasn’t cardio, it was like my physique simply wasn’t reacting. In my head I may suppose what I wished to do, however my physique simply wasn’t doing it. …

“My 10 fights I needed to get so far to battle for the championship, I by no means regarded like that in a battle, ever. Even after I was combating, I used to be trying forward like, ‘Man, what the hell is happening? Simply preserve pushing. I do know he’s artful and the physique is feeling it, however simply preserve working and keep centered. It’s by no means over till it’s over.’ I stayed in there and acquired the clear head kick KO. …

“If my physique was reacting the way in which it was within the first spherical, the battle would have gone a very completely different method. The primary spherical I felt regular. Then after that, my physique simply type of shut down on me. If I’d have felt the way in which I did within the first spherical, it will have been a very completely different battle.”

Edwards was removed from the one one that felt the consequences of the elevation at UFC 278. Lots of the fighters competing on the occasion regarded visibly exhausted early of their fights, most notably within the middleweight co-main occasion bout between Paulo Costa and Luke Rockhold wherein Rockhold put his fingers on his knees repeatedly through the battle. Whereas Edwards’ points didn’t manifest themselves that clearly, the commentary workforce did opine through the battle that “Rocky” regarded mentally defeated earlier than authoring the comeback. Even Edwards admits he was beginning to suppose this may be simply the most recent in a profession filled with setbacks.

“I used to be getting fearful, for positive – 100%,” Edwards mentioned. “The second was so massive for me, and it’s simply my luck for that to occur. I assumed, ‘Man, there’s no method this may occur, that it may possibly play out like this.’ I mentioned all of it week, I really feel like that is my second. God introduced me so far to make this occur. That’s what saved taking part in in my head, there’s no method God introduced me right here for this simply to go to choice and end like this. I needed to simply keep centered and take heed to my workforce. Nice motivation. They knew how you can press my buttons, and so they saved me in there and acquired the end.”

The cornering from Edwards’ coaches has already turn out to be legendary, spurring their fighter toward his incredible comeback, telling Edwards to “cease feeling f****** sorry for himself” and “pull this s*** out of the fireplace.” And that turned out to be simply what Edwards wanted in that second.

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“It’s been like that earlier than however not that intense,” Edwards mentioned. “It’s been like that earlier than in coaching and different stuff. … I wasn’t feeling sorry for myself. I used to be feeling — it’s arduous to elucidate it. I wasn’t feeling sorry for myself, I used to be considering, ‘There’s no method that is taking part in out like this.’ I feel he may inform by my face, primarily based on what he mentioned. ‘Cease feeling sorry for your self. Maintain attempting, mate. You greater than should be right here. You possibly can beat this man. You are able to do it, so simply go on the market and do it.’ In order that’s what I did. …

“That’s certainly one of my worst performances ever in my profession. To have my worst efficiency within the greatest second of my life, it’s arduous to elucidate how you are feeling mentally. It’s like what the f***. Come on. How is that this taking part in out like this. It was tough to undergo, however it’s what it’s. That was Usman’s finest efficiency, that was my worst efficiency, and he nonetheless couldn’t end me. I completed him on my worst day.”

Nonetheless it occurred, Edwards is now the undisputed welterweight champion, and for somebody who confronted a lot adversity and so many setbacks earlier than attaining his dream, “Rocky” says it’s nonetheless setting in for him.

“Everybody retains asking me, ‘How does it really feel?’ but it surely’s arduous to place into phrases,” Rocky mentioned. “I feel that’s why in my post-fight interview I used to be simply crying, as a result of it’s arduous to — not simply the second of successful the UFC world championship, however attending to that time or attaining my dream, going by way of all of the ups and downs all through life and all through my profession. It’s nonetheless tough to place into phrases. It nonetheless feels so surreal. It doesn’t really feel actual generally. …

“While you watch films and also you see individuals cry from happiness, I’ve by no means cried from happiness earlier than in my life. So after I’m crying from happiness, that’s when you understand it was actual. It was such a surreal second, and one which I’ll treasure endlessly. To suppose I didn’t know the place Utah was, and now it’s caught in my life endlessly. It’s a tremendous story.”

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