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Did Kamaru Usman fail the ‘Fight IQ’ test against Leon Edwards? ‘I could’ve taken him down’

Kamaru Usman was cruising to a sweep on the judges’ scorecards in his UFC 278 title defense against Leon Edwards back on Aug. 20 in Salt Lake City, but instead of implementing his wrestling game or playing “keep away” to run out the clock, “The Nigerian Nightmare” went in for the kill and got KTFO for his efforts.

Champion mindset ... or tactical mistake?

“I’m a goer, when I hear the [horn] I still want to go, and when the ref says, ‘Break, go to your corners,’ I still want to go,” Usman told TMZ Sports. “That’s the way that I fight. I wanted the finish, it was just a beautiful technique. I could’ve taken him down, but I really wanted a finish and when I was setting up, and only God knows what I was setting up, I didn’t land it, [who knows] how much damage it could’ve done, but it was just a beautiful technique. He threw head kicks throughout the fight, I blocked them all. That one was just money. I’m almost in awe on how good it was, but it happens. Champions fall, then they get back and show you why they’re champions.”

Usman is expected to earn an immediate rematch.

What we don’t know is which version of “The Nigerian Nightmare” will show up. Usman was in full control of their first fight before eating “Rocky’s” head kick and probably shouldn’t reinvent the wheel based on one bad decision. But some fighters (like this guy) believe the devastating loss could change the former champ for the rest of his career.

Time will tell.

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