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Leon Edwards: UFC 278 is perfect time to fight broken down Kamaru Usman

UFC 278 Press Conference Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Kamaru Usman is currently riding a 15-fight UFC win streak. The Welterweight kingpin has defended his title five times, and he’s widely regarded as the current pound-for-pound king of the sport. Comparisons to previous Welterweight kingpin Georges St. Pierre are rampant, and Usman has talked about jumping two weight classes directly into a title fight.

Safe to say, “The Nigerian Nightmare” is riding high.

LIVE! Watch UFC 279 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

BLOCKBUSTER WELTERWEIGHT SHOWDOWN! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sat., Sept. 10, 2022, with a must-watch updated Welterweight thriller that will see perennial fan favorite, Nate Diaz now battles former top-ranked Lightweight contender, Tony Ferguson, who will return to the 170-pound weight class for this last minute, upgraded assignment. Meanwhile, In UFC 279’s pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, we now get the undefeated No. 3-ranked contender, Khamzat Chimaev, opposite Kevin ‘Trailblazer’ Holland.

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

Usman’s next title defense is scheduled opposite Leon Edwards at UFC 278 on Aug. 20 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The two have clashed once previously in December 2015, with Usman winning a unanimous decision victory after coming on strong in the second and third round. As a result, Usman enters the rematch as a significant favorite.

However, it’s worth noting that Usman, age 35, is five years older than Edwards. He’s also been in a couple back-and-forth wars with Colby Covington in recent years, whereas Edwards’ victories have largely been dominant and damage free (barring a moment of boredom). As such, Edwards believes his opponent’s body is breaking down, making UFC 278 the perfect time to dethrone the king.

“All I’ve been doing is training,” Edwards told CBS Sports. “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.”

Usman’s injuries and wear and tear have been a topic of concern in the past. Notably, Usman revealed to Joe Rogan that he hasn’t run in years because his knees are damaged. In addition, hand injuries nearly derailed this match up against “Rocky!” Even great athletes can fall to injury, and at his age, Usman is right in the danger zone of falling off athletically.

We’ll find out where both men stand next weekend.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 278 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ABC/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 278: “Usman vs. Edwards 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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