UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards thinks his fight against Kamaru Usman could open the door to the retirement of the former champion at UFC 286.
The main event of Saturday’s UFC 286 event at The O2 in London features welterweight champion Edwards (20-3 MMA, 12-2 UFC) defending his championship against Usman (20-2 MMA, 15-1 UFC) in a trilogy fight. After prelims on ESPNews and early prelims on ESPN+, the main card is broadcast on pay-per-view.
Edwards is certain that knocking Usman out in their second fight at UFC 278 will have affected him psychologically, and he wouldn’t be shocked if Usman lost another fight to him before retiring.
“Our mentalities are in two different places,” Leon 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.”
Leon Edwards reflects on his second fight against Kamaru Usman
Prior to his head kick knockout, Edwards had a 3-1 deficit on the judges’ scorecards, but the champion blames Salt Lake City’s elevation for it. Edwards claimed that despite slowing down throughout the fight, he never felt in actual 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.” Leon Edwards (H/T – MMAJunkie.com)
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