UFC Star Argues It’s the ‘Perfect Time’ for Kamaru Usman to Be Dethroned

Kamaru Usman

Getty Kamaru Usman

Current UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is set to make his sixth title defense later this month. But his opponent, Leon Edwards, believes it’s the “perfect time” for “The Nigerian Nightmare” to be dethroned.

The two will meet as the headlining act for UFC 278 on August 20 at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. It’s a rematch around seven years in the making, with Usman besting Edwards in 2015 via unanimous decision.

During a recent interview with CBS Sports’ Shakiel Mahjouri, Edwards laid out why he thinks he’ll leave the Octagon as the new 170-pound king. In short, “Rocky” said he’s more than prepared to rip the belt away from the No. 1-ranked UFC pound-for-pound combatant.

“All I’ve been doing is training,” Edwards said. “The Khamzat Chimaev fight, for example, that’s three camps. I’ve done many camps and improved leaps and bounds. Now is the perfect time to fight. I think those years looking back on it now were blessings in disguise. It gave me time to hone my skills and polish what I needed to polish. [Usman’s] competed but he’s also been in wars. His body is breaking down and I think now is the perfect time.

“But I’m not going in there thinking that. I’m going in prepared for the so-called pound-for-pound best.”

Edwards Has Been Game Planning for Usman for 7 Years

While speaking with the media in London earlier this month, Edwards said that he’s been sculpting a game plan to defeat The Nigerian Nightmare since their match in 2015.

“It’s been seven years of game planning and how we would approach it and what would be the difference between then and now,” Edwards said via Sportskeeda.com. “This is what I’ve been working for and envisioning for many years now. I always said I will be fighting for the world title, I always said I was No. 1 in the division and it took a longer road to get to the point where I’m at now. But I believe that road made me a better fighter.

“Three of four years ago I probably wouldn’t have been ready. I truly believe this is the right time for me to fight for the title and I’m excited.”

Usman & Edwards Have 2 of the Best Win Streaks at Welterweight

The 30-year-old Englishman hasn’t tasted defeat since losing to “The Nigerian Nightmare.” He’s built a 10-fight win streak that includes victories over the likes of Nate Diaz, former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos and Gunnar Nelson.

Rocky boasts a professional mixed martial arts record of 19-3 with one no-contest. Ten of Edwards’ wins have come via decision, while he’s finished six opponents by KO/TKO and three by submission.

On the other end, Usman has never lost as a UFC athlete. With 15 wins, he holds the record for most consecutive victories inside the Octagon as a welterweight. The Nigerian Nightmare holds an impressive 20-1 record, which includes two wins against top-ranked contender Colby Covington and two over MMA superstar Jorge Masvidal.

The 35-year-old champion has taken out nine opponents via KO/TKO, one by submission and 10 via decision. As mentioned, he sits as No. 1 in the promotion’s pound-for-pound standings.

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