Leon Edwards showed why he is a great champion during his title defense.
In the last fight at UFC 286, Edwards was able to get his second win against Kamaru Usman, keeping his welterweight championship and showing everyone who the best fighter is at 170 pounds. Before entering the cage, Edwards had a belt of gold around his waist and this time even got to compete in his homeland of England, which made him extra confident.
Just before their fight, Edwards jokingly pointed an imaginary gun at Usman’s head. He talked about this on a show called “The MMA Hour” that aired Monday.
He said that it was something he hadn’t planned but just as Usman was walking over to him, he thought ‘why not?’ and started pointing the gun and squeezing the trigger (in his imagination).
I was determined to win this fight because I had worked so hard and come too far for it to end in a loss. And, luckily, I made that happen.
Edwards did very well and was rewarded for it by winning a majority decision, with two 48-46 scores and one 47-47 score. Even though he could have won three times without any deduction, Edwards had a point taken away from him in the third round because he grabbed the fence in order to stop Usman from taking him down. The referee also told Edwards off for doing low blows and grabbing Usman’s glove; however, no points were taken away this time.
Edwards wasn’t sure why he was called for fouls during his fight. He said he had been throwing body kicks because he and his opponent were facing each other differently. His opponent stated that some of the kicks hit him “in his balls” or somewhere else.
I watched the first grab and I thought it wasn’t bad enough to take away a point from him. That made me more determined to do well in the rest of the round, since I was already down a point.
Edwards faced Usman again, but this time the result was the same as the last. When they first fought at UFC 278 in August, Edwards looked like he would lose until the last minute of Round 3 when he kicked Usman’s head. Even though Edwards won his first title defense he said it didn’t feel quite as good as winning the belt for the first time.
“I was feeling more emotional before the second fight because I knew how important it was to win and prove everyone wrong who said that I wouldn’t be able do it. Everyone thought that I couldn’t become a champion, so all my feelings of determination and excitement poured out in August,” Edwards said.
When I got to this event, I felt like I was going to take the win. That attitude carried me through the week! When they announced the winner and everybody was cheering, that was pretty amazing. But when it happened in August, that feeling was even more incredible.