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Leon Edwards: KO Win vs. Kamaru Usman at UFC 278 'Was One Of My Worst Performances'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVAugust 21, 2022

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Leon Edwards stunned the MMA world on Saturday night, knocking out Kamaru Usman in the fifth round of their welterweight title fight at UFC 278.

But as he told reporters after the bout, he didn't feel as though he performed particularly well:

"Going into it, I knew it was going to be a tough fight. I said it all week. But I believe I was the better man—but even though it was one my worst performances, it is what it is, I got a clean finish. ... My body just wasn't reacting the way it was meant to react. I don't know if it was the altitude or not, but when I was backstage watching the other guys fight on TV, everyone was getting tired and gassing out. I was like, 'Why is everyone getting tired?' When I went out there after the first round I felt it. My body just wasn't reacting.

"It wasn't a cardio issue, it was just like my body wasn't reacting. But I stayed focused, my coaches spurred me on and kept reminding me, 'You're still in the fight, you are the best, and fight until the end.' That combination I was drilling with my coaches, that left-cross head kick, and it landed perfectly."

It appeared as though Usman was heading for a straightforward decision after winning the fight's middle three rounds. He was in control in the final frame as well, until an Edwards kick caught him with just 56 seconds remaining and knocked out the UFC's top-ranked pound-for-pound fighter.

UFC @ufc

The kick heard 'round the world 🌎<br><br>[ <a href="https://twitter.com/Leon_edwardsmma?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Leon_EdwardsMMA</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UFC278?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UFC278</a> ] <a href="https://t.co/GfmX7pBnj6">pic.twitter.com/GfmX7pBnj6</a>

It was a result that left fighters around the sport in amazement:

Ciryl Gane @ciryl_gane

OMG <a href="https://twitter.com/Leon_edwardsmma?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Leon_edwardsmma</a> 🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯

TJ Dillashaw @TJDillashaw

The kick heard around the world! 😳🤯 Congrats <a href="https://twitter.com/Leon_edwardsmma?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Leon_edwardsmma</a>! Trilogy fight coming soon! Respect to <a href="https://twitter.com/USMAN84kg?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@USMAN84kg</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UFC278?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UFC278</a>

Francis Ngannou @francis_ngannou

Man this sport is unpredictable 😭😭😭

Aljamain Sterling @funkmasterMMA

Usman Seconds of away from retaining the belt and an INSANE headkick KO from Leon Edwards! WOW! Jamaica 🇯🇲has another UFC champion! I smell a trilogy!! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UFC278?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UFC278</a>

Conor McGregor @TheNotoriousMMA

An amazing scene to witness! Huge congrats Leon! A real good, solid and dedicated mixed martial artist! The uk’s second only ufc champion! Incredible! Congrats mate! <a href="https://twitter.com/ParadigmSports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ParadigmSports</a>

It seems likely that a rematch will follow and put a cap on the trilogy, with Usman winning their first fight back in 2015. And if Edwards' body is reacting better in that fight, Usman might be in trouble again.

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