Kamaru Usman takes his first UFC loss in good spirits.
Usman’s longtime reign as welterweight champion came to an end last Saturday at UFC 278 when Leon Edwards landed a stunning overhead kick in the final minute of their Championship headliner. ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ was less than 60 seconds away from defending their title until the shocking moment happened.
In the end, Usman took everything — from the climax to the fan reaction — in stride.
“That was a great shot, I’m talking about Hail Mary in the Super Bowl,” Usman said TMZ. “That was a great shot, man.
“It’s not hard at all [to watch it]. Do you know how many people I’ve done this to? It happened, and that’s the beautiful thing about the sport – it happens, but we forget what was really going on in that fight. I’m not depressed at all. It’s almost as if everyone is sadder about it than me. Everyone is more emotional than me. For me, it lets me know that people care, that they are invested.
“I’m so kind with just the weather, and it sucks the attention is a loss,” Usman continued. “I thought I was famous before, but damn, with the meme action going on, oh, I’m famous now.
“It just creates a hunger for the comeback, and I’m just excited for what’s next. I now have a rare opportunity to inspire and motivate people to fall and get back up. I’m excited about it.
Edwards finds himself in a very interesting place where his next fight will likely be the most lucrative of his career. While the president of the UFC Dana White think Edwards and Usman will revive him, there are potentially other options in play.
In Usman’s eyes, there is only one fight that needs to happen – the trilogy in London.
“What else makes sense?” I mean, look at the division,” Usman explained. “That’s absolutely what’s going to happen next. I talked to Dana and we’ll see, let him do his job, and we’ll see what date makes sense. This will be next year’s top.
“I was going to try to squeeze [another] one this year, but I want the top next year, and I want to go to England. I dream of going to England. I feel like this is my second home [because] England is like half of Africa. People don’t know it, but it’s time to go out there and entertain the English. And what better story? You couldn’t write that better.
With a victory over Edwards under his belt in December 2015 and an incredible end to their second meeting, Usman is happy for his double opponent and is thrilled to have the opportunity to regain the title at the start of 2023.
“I love Leon. I always liked Leon,” Usman said. “Actually, I follow Leon on social media, it’s weird. He doesn’t follow me, but that’s how it is.
“I love Leon and I’m very happy for Leon. In a way, he’s been on the same path, the same journey as me, he kinda reminds me of me. But it’s great for his story, and that’s even bigger for my story, so we’ll pick it up. He’s wanted to fight in London for a while, and now he’s got it. Now you’ve got it, and it’s a big one. It’s a mega-fight “Congratulations to Leon. What a great technique, what a Hail Mary. That’s why I love this sport: anything can happen at any time, and it definitely did.