And the belt is heading to England.
After nearly five frames, it appeared “The Nigerian Nightmare” was coasting to a unanimous decision victory. Out of nowhere, however, Edwards connected with a head kick and knocked out the reigning 170-pound king.
Edwards became the first-ever Jamaican-born UFC champion. He avenged his 2015 unanimous decision defeat to Usman and improved his unbeaten streak to 11. On the other end, Usman tasted defeat for the first time as a UFC athlete, suffering only the second defeat of his professional career.
And with the underdog winning in such shocking fashion, it was no surprise that the MMA community on Twitter erupted.
UFC superstar and ex-two division champion Conor McGregor tweeted: “Just like that baby, what a game! Huge congrats @ParadigmSports and Leon Edwards! ANOTHER CHAMPION!”
“Hahahahahhhahajaaj,” McGregor continued, presumably laughing at his rival Usman.
McGregor tweeted: “Usman gonna come out saying he from Pluto after that smack hahah Marty green pants from Pluto.”
“Ya’s’r all s**** bags don’t forget it,” McGregor continued.
Then, sharing a shot of Usman laying on the canvas after the KO, the Irishman tweeted: “Mi no lika the boi no sleep dem man hahahaha t*** got t*****d.”
“Notorious” once again praised Edwards, writing: “An amazing scene to witness! Huge congrats Leon! A real good, solid and dedicated mixed martial artist! The uk’s second only ufc champion! Incredible! Congrats mate! @ParadigmSports.”
Multiple Reigning UFC Champions Reacted to the UFC 278 Stunner
Current UFC heavyweight champion and Usman’s friend Francis Ngannou tweeted: “Man this sport is unpredictable,” along with three crying emojis.
“Keep your head up my brother @USMAN84kg s*** happens,” Ngannou continued. “Love you (heart emojis).”
“As sad as I am, I can’t not be happy for Leon Edwards from where he came from to make it here and what he been through,” Ngannou continued. “Congratulations @Leon_edwardsmma !!!”
Top-ranked UFC welterweight Khamzat Chimaev tweeted: “Wtf,” along with several laughing emojis.
“WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!?!?” TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter wrote. “That has to be the craziest title fight finish in history. Has to be.”
Former three-time UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen tweeted: “@NateDiaz209 is World Champion.”
More Reactions Poured in on Saturday Night
In all caps, “The MMA Hour” host Ariel Helwani tweeted: “OH MY GODDDDDD. LEON EDWARDS JUST KO’D USMAN IN THE FINAL MINUTE VIA HEAD KICK. HOLY S*** HE DID IT!!!!!!!”
“WHAT WILL THEY SAY NOW ABOUT ROCKY EDWARDS?!!?” Helwani continued.
“THIS MAN HAS BEEN DISRESPECTED 10X OVER,” Helwani tweeted. “I CAN’T BELIEVE HE ACTUALLY DID IT. GO ON LEON. YOU DID IT.”
Reigning UFC bantamweight king Aljamain Sterling tweeted: “Usman Seconds of away from retaining the belt and an INSANE headkick KO from Leon Edwards! WOW! Jamaica 🇯🇲has another UFC champion! I smell a trilogy!!”
Starting with several flushed face emojis, former Bellator and ONE welterweight champion Ben Askren tweeted: “freaking madness.”
MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn tweeted: “OMG Leon Edwards! HEAD KICK KO of Usman.”
“This sport is so fucking insane,” he continued. “Jesus Christ.”