Earlier this evening UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and his challenger Leon Edwards sat down to hype up their fight, which is scheduled for the main event of UFC 278 on August 20. The presser veered from cordial to jovial and was downright respectful at times.
Both men complimented each other’s prowess and made it clear that they expected a difficult challenge come August 20. At one point Usman emphasized how much he liked Edwards. He then spun that into an interesting tale involving one Jorge Masvidal.
“Listen, I like you,” said Usman. “You my man, I like you. I’ve done a lot for you. I’ve done a lot for you. I like you. You know, that man went back there in London and, you know, 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. You know who I’m talking about.”
Kamaru Usman says he sent Jorge Masvidal's "head to the moon" for Leon Edwards— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) July 2, 2022
"You and mandem, you guys didn't do nothing. So I had to handle it for yous... I like you. Thank me."
Full #UFC278 press conference ▶️ https://t.co/vQCoQJoo89 pic.twitter.com/HVj723LmRd
Edwards and Masvidal famously met backstage at 2017’s UFC London shortly after Masvidal had defeated Darren Till in the main event. Masvidal was conducting a backstage interview when he and Edwards began exchanging words. Masvidal escalated the situation by lunging at Edwards and delivering the now infamous “three piece and a soda.”
Local police investigated this incident, but Edwards reportedly declined to press charges.
“I got him for you! So I like you. Thank me,” said Usman at the presser, claiming that his emphatic knockout of Masvidal at last year’s UFC 272 was some kind of payback.
“That boy got escorted out the country,” replied Edwards. “They hid him from me.”
“They hit him?” asked Usman, as he tried to decipher Edwards’ thick brummy accent.
“They hid him,” clarified Edwards. “He would have been dead.”
“I got him for you, though,” repeated Usman, with a smile.
The jokes and pleasantries are almost certain to end in Salt Lake City, Utah. UFC 278, the first UFC pay-per-view ever to take place in Utah, is scheduled to be the second time these two men have stepped into the Octagon together.
The pair first met in 2015, when Usman was 6-1 and only one fight into his UFC career. Edwards had just three UFC fights to his name at the time. The bout ended in a unanimous decision win for Usman.
‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ clinched UFC gold in 2019 and has defended his title on five occasions. His record stands at 20-1. The sole loss in his career is a first round submission in only his second ever pro fight.
Edwards has been near perfect since his loss to Usman. He’s won nine straight fights (if you don’t count a no contest to Belal Muhammad in 2021). Most recently he beat Nate Diaz by unanimous decision to advance his record to 19-3 (1 NC).
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