Usman promises to beat Edwards at his own game


Kamaru Usman has promised to beat Leon Edwards at wrestling instead of striking when they face this Sunday, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.
Usman is chasing a sixth successful defence of his welterweight world championship and the two will meet in the main event of UFC 278, set for the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on the morning of Sunday 21 August 2022.
Nigerian-born Usman (20-1, 9 KO) won the belt by defeating Tyron Woodley in a title fight in March 2019 and has been invincible since then, even becoming the No 1 ranked pound-for-pound fighter in UFC.
His most recent title defence was against arch-rival Colby Covington, defeating him in the rematch by unanimous decision in November 2021 for a 19th successive MMA win.
The 35-year-old who has beaten Edwards before by claiming a unanimous decision win back in December 2015, has generally been respectful toward his opponent but promised a wrestling match mocking his Edwards’ history with common foe Jorge Masvidal.
“Listen, I like you,” Usman said. “You my man. I’ve done a lot for you. That man (Masvidal) went back there in London, he put his hands on you, and you guys didn’t do nothing, so I had to handle it for you – that’s why I had to knock his head to the moon. I got him for you, so I like you. Thank me,” Usman said.
He then referenced Edwards’ love for grappling and wrestling and promised that it’ll be a wrestling match in the ring.
“Of course, I fell in love with my striking – that’s why I have more knockouts in championship fights than he has in the UFC his entire career. And yes, I fell in love with my striking, but guess what, you fell in love with your grappling. So, August 20 (USA time), we going to wrestle.”
Edwards (19-3, 6 KO) earned this title shot with a unanimous decision win over Nate Diaz at UFC 263 in June last year, as well as a run of 10 undefeated fights.
The 30-year-old British fighter is expecting a tough clash against Usman but believes he can make it 1-1 in their personal record.
“I don’t think it’s going to be easy,” Edwards explained. “I want to take it away from him, and I plan to do that. I’m not going in there looking for an easy fight. I’m going in there to beat the champion and become the champion.
“He was the last guy to beat me. Everyone claims he’s pound-for-pound [the best fighter]. They say he can’t be beaten. It’s the perfect time for it to happen, and I can’t wait.”