Leon Edwards may have opened the door for Kamaru Usman’s retirement, but “Nigerian Nightmare” doesn’t sound ready to cross the threshold any time soon.
Edwards defeated Usman for the second time in a row at UFC 286 last night (Sat., March 18, 2023) in London, England, winning their trilogy series 2-1. Indeed, “Rocky” not only dethroned the Welterweight champion, he stopped him from regaining the throne. Now there seems like little chance that Usman will get another shot at the title so long as Edwards wears the crown.
Usman, 35, is no spring chicken. He was well-known knee issues along with lingering hand injuries. Who knows what other problems he struggles with health-wise after decade as a professional fighter and lifetime of amateur wrestling competition.
But, Usman made it clear in the Octagon after his loss that he wasn’t planning on retiring anytime soon.
“I think I did enough to win the fight, but I knew it was a close fight,” Usman said during his post-fight interview in the cage. “Great gameplan, great gameplan. You know, I’ve always said it from the start: I knew I’d see Leon again, and we did it. I’m not done. I’ll see him again, but he put on a hell of a gameplan.
“I’ve always given him props for everything he’s been able to accomplish,” Usman continued. “He’s a brother, like myself. Much respect. London, you’ve got yourself a hell of a guy, a great champion.
“I’m going to get back with my coaches because I’m one of those guys, I can’t sit for too long,” Usman said regarding his future. “I start getting antsy. I’m going to talk to my coaches. I’ll get back, sit back and relax ... spend some time with my daughter.
Pure class from Kamaru Usman @USMAN84kg l #UFC286 pic.twitter.com/JMXmSDZgxh— ESPN (@espn) March 19, 2023
“You get to come here and get entertained by us, but a lot of you guys don’t know what we go through in training camp just to prepare for this, just to get in there and give you guys a show,” Usman concluded. “So guys, much respect to the fighters. We put it on the line for you guys each and every time.”
In a follow-up statement on Twitter, Usman vowed to “go back to work.”
A special thank you to my management, family, friends, and fans. I appreciate each and everyone of you. Wasn’t my night but as always we go back to work. Congratulations @Leon_edwardsmma great work— KAMARU USMAN (@USMAN84kg) March 19, 2023
“A special thank you to my management, family, friends, and fans,” he wrote. “I appreciate each and every one of you. Wasn’t my night but as always, we go back to work. Congratulations Leon Edwards great work.”
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