LONDON – Leon Edwards thinks beating Kamaru Usman for a second straight time could signal his end.
Welterweight champion Edwards (20-3 MMA, 12-2 UFC) defends his title against Usman (20-2 MMA, 15-1 UFC) in a trilogy bout that headlines Saturday’s UFC 286 event at The O2 in London. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPNews and early prelims on ESPN+.
Edwards is convinced knocking out Usman in their second fight at UFC 278 will have impacted him mentally and wouldn’t be surprised if Usman retired with another loss to him.
“Our mentalities are in two different places,” Edwards said at Wednesday’s UFC 286 media day. “I feel like he’s on his way out, and I was going to open the door for him – give him another path to follow his fashion dreams and follow wherever he wants to go.
“I think he’s already got one – something’s out the door and I was going to add to that. Whether he retires after or not, it’s up to him.”
Edwards was down 3-1 on the judges’ scorecards before he landed a head-kick knockout, but the champion attributes that to Salt Lake City’s altitude. Although Edwards slowed down throughout the fight, he said he never felt in any real danger.
“I know Kamaru – he’s using that as, ‘Oh yeah, he was tired in the fight.’ Whether I was tired or not, you got knocked out – and that’s it,” Edwards said. “So at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.
“Even though I was tired, he couldn’t hurt me. I wasn’t hurt, really – it was more a fatigue issue. He was wailing at my gloves and I was catching it all on my gloves. Even on my worst day, I defeated him. He’s improved from when we’ve first fought, but so have I.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 286.
Leon Edwards: I’ll open door for Kamaru Usman’s retirement at UFC 286