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Ahead UFC rematch, Kamaru Usman talks tough



KAMARU Usman isn’t overly concerned about what Leon Edwards will bring to the table in their highly anticipated rubber match.

  The UFC returns to London, England for the first time in 2023, and in a big way. Headlining this Saturday night’s UFC 286 pay-per-view will be the third encounter between the hometown welterweight champion, Edwards and his rival, Usman. Their series is all tied up at 1-1 with Edwards last besting his adversary this past August with an all-timer comeback head kick knockout.

  Usman first went ahead on the scoreboard in December 2015 against Edwards, winning a three-round unanimous decision. The five-round rematch was trending toward an identical result after a rocky opening frame ultimately led to a nightmarishly perfect shot from the U.K.’s finest. Therefore, Usman isn’t sold that he was bested by the better fighter in the rematch.

  “Yes, you have a ton of tape,” Usman told Morning Kombat. “All these people or all these fighters have all this tape to watch and study and try to defeat you with what they’ve studied. If they’re able to do that, if they have the ability to study your tape and go out there and shut everything and do that, they’re the better fighter. They deserve to be champion anyways. You can’t stop it. If they have the ability to trump what they see on tape, they’re the better fighter anyways.

  “Now, the problem is, you can watch as much tape as you want to. A lot of people can see me and say, ‘Oh, wow, he has a decent gas tank.’ But until you are locked in that cage with me and you actually feel that, you have no idea. This individual has felt it twice, and he has melted twice. He’s shown me nothing to let me believe he’s a better mixed martial artist than I am — besides one Hail Mary in the fifth round.”

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  Although Usman has fallen from his perch with just a second career loss in 22 bouts, it’s been more of a weight lifted than a lingering negative.

  The former champion recalled how simpler life was before reaching the top of the mountain, going into LA Fitness gyms ahead of his first title shot with Tyron Woodley. Usman was able to just be “normal” and not be bothered by all the extra attention that wound up coming with being one of MMA’s biggest and best stars.

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