UFC star vows to return after losing title via stunning KO

August 22, 2022

Former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has vowed to return after losing his title in a stunning knockout defeat to British fighter Leon Edwards on Sunday.

Edwards dropped Usman with a kick to the head and neck in the final minute of the fifth round to win the welterweight championship at UFC 278.

"Damn I love this sport," Usman tweeted after the loss.

"I am truly overwhelmed by all the support. I am ok, just got caught in the right spot.

"These things happen. We will learn from them and do what greatness requires."

Usman appeared to be seconds away from a 16th consecutive victory, which would have tied an all-time UFC record, before Edwards came up with the stunning finish just in time.

He delivered the knockout blow with 56 seconds left in the bout.

“That crosshead kick landed perfectly,” Edwards said.

Edwards (20-3) is undefeated dating back to his previous bout with Usman in 2015. The British fighter rose to No. 2 in the welterweight division while accumulating nine wins in that stretch ahead of the title bout.

Usman (20-2) lived up to his reputation as the No.1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world for much of the bout. The Nigerian weathered a late first-round takedown and turned the tables with a late second-round takedown.

Usman controlled position throughout the third round, earning two more takedowns, and led 39-37 on the judges’ scorecards after four rounds. He appeared on his way to a win by unanimous decision before Edwards rallied in the final round.

"The octagon belongs to nobody," Edwards said. "No man is meant to hold the belt for that long. I said all week I felt like this was my moment. This is how it was meant to play out."

Edwards still believes he has plenty left to prove even though he is now the champion. He mentioned repeatedly how he didn’t like how his body reacted to Usman’s attacks throughout all five rounds.

"That wasn’t my best performance, and I did not feel myself in this,” Edwards said. “I feel like I have much more to offer."

UFC’s first pay-per-view event in Utah drew 18,321 fans and $4.2 million in live gate revenue, a Vivint Arena record. It marked the 23rd consecutive sellout for the UFC.

Dana White praised the arena atmosphere and said the UFC could return to Utah as early as 2023.

“You could put this crowd up there with anybody tonight,” White said.

- Additional reporting by the Associated Press.