Stephen Thompson says former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman will avenge his loss to Leon Edwards at UFC 286.
In the welterweight title battle between Usman (20-2 MMA, 15-1 UFC) and Edwards (20-3 MMA, 12-2 UFC), Edwards rallied to knock Usman out with a head kick with less than a minute remaining in Round 5. Usman had a three-point lead on the judges’ scorecards. Before being defeated by Edwards, Usman successfully defended his welterweight championship five times.
After splitting their first two encounters, Edwards and Usman will square off for a third time in Saturday’s UFC 286 headliner at The O2 in London. Usman was very effective in both battles with his wrestling, but “Wonderboy” doubts that Edwards would be able to win again in the same way.
“Well, looking back at the last fight, Usman was winning the majority of the rounds,” Stephen Thompson told Submission Radio. “Leon got the first one. It was amazing, because you never saw Usman getting taken down before and controlled on the ground. Leon did that. After that round, it was all Usman up until the point of he got knocked out.
“Now, do I think Leon could set it up again? I do. But on paper I have Usman winning this fight, just because he was dominating the last one until he just wasn’t. And it’s harder to pull something off again for the second time. It’s gonna be very, very difficult.” Stephen Thompson said.
Stephen Thompson also questions Kamaru Usman’s mental state
Stephen Thompson acknowledges that because Usman has never experienced defeat in that way, the knockout loss might have an impact on his mental health. But in terms of style, he only sees Usman winning.
“But on top of that, you’ve got to think where’s Usman’s mindset going into this,” Thompson said. “Right? A guy who’s been so dominant in the UFC and getting finished like that, getting knocked out like that, does it mess that mindset up? And you kind of see, you know, his social media presence wasn’t the same as it was before. I don’t know if that has anything to do with it, but that just sticks out to me.”
“I think you’ve got to ask yourself, is his mindset there and is his drive still the same after the way he lost? But from the last fight and the way he was winning it, on paper I’ve got Usman winning it.” Stephen Thompson said.