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Morning Report: Kamaru Usman admits he ‘probably rushed’ into Leon Edwards trilogy

UFC 290: Ceremonial Weigh-in Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Kamaru Usman wishes he took a little more time before battling Leon Edwards for a third time.

It’s been just over one full year since Usman was dethroned as the UFC welterweight champion of the world. “The Nigerian Nightmare” took on his old foe Edwards in their long-awaited rematch at UFC 278, leading to one of the greatest comebacks in MMA history, if not the greatest.

Edwards took round one impressively before the dominant title holder took over and controlled the action for the remainder of the fight — until the final minute. A concussive Hail Mary blow in the form of a head kick connected for Edwards, crowning him the new divisional king. The pair had their trilogy affair this past March and Edwards adapted beautifully, outpointing Usman en route to a majority decision victory. Sitting idle ever since then, Usman has now watched his friend and former middleweight champion Israel Adesanya once again lose his title after falling short against Sean Strickland at UFC 293 this past weekend.

“I was in his position and I honestly, looking back now, I probably rushed it,” Usman said on DC & RC. “I probably should have taken a little bit more time off. Then if I’m still guaranteed that shot, go fight for that title. Now, a big part of the reason where you jump into the immediate rematch is — and I would say this to myself in my case as well — when you’re in the middle of a title reign, I don’t want a day to go by that I’m not the man in charge. That when they think of the middleweight division, they don’t think about my name as No. 1. So, after that fight, I’m like, ‘You know what? No. I’m not gonna give this man an opportunity to carry around my belt to say he’s the champion and start to do certain things and think of himself as the champion.’ Because the longer that is, the more they start to build that confidence and that bravado, and I don’t like that. So, as a competitor, I was like, ‘No, let’s go ahead and get this one out of the way. Send him back on down to where he belongs as a contender.’

“For Israel, I’m sure as a competitor he’s feeling a little bit of this as well and thinking, ‘This guy shouldn’t have beat me in the first place,’ just like I felt. ‘This guy shouldn’t even be in there with me in the first place,’ as I felt. So, you want to get it back and get that stain off of you right away but if you’re guaranteed that shot, I would like to see him take a little bit of time. Enjoy life but not to say he’s not gonna train or be in the mix. Of course, as a champion, we always watch everything. We see all. So, I would like to see him take a little bit of time and just really indulge and be who he really is and let your body rest and recover.”

Usman has openly spoken about the wear and tear he deals with attributed to being a professional athlete since his collegiate wrestling days. When comparing himself and Adesanya, the 36-year-old noted how the body starts to break down no matter how successful someone is and it might not always be realized until too late.

Watching the Strickland fight, Usman was impressed. Before the new 185-pound champion made his voyage through the middleweight waters, he occupied welterweight where he crossed paths with Usman in April 2017. Usman put on a vintage performance, grinding and pounding out the young “Tarzan” to win a unanimous decision. Stylistically, Usman believes all the right tools were utilized at the appropriate time for his past opponent in his biggest moment.

“Sean Strickland is not an easy guy to fight,” Usman said. “Especially with the way ‘Izzy’ fights, this is just kind of a style that will potentially neutralize that type of style. So, we have to give credit where credit is due here. Sean Strickland did his thing but it’s not hard to see the Israel Adesanya that we’re all used to seeing wasn’t the Israel Adesanya we saw last weekend.”


Results. DWCS Season 7, Week 6: Another 5-contract night, 3 losers get win money

Sequel. Matt Brown believes Israel Adesanya ‘deserves immediate rematch’ with Sean Strickland, but offers advice beforehand

Besties. Chris Curtis breaks down Sean Strickland’s unorthodox style: ‘Everything he does is, on paper, wrong

Placement. Rankings Shakeup: Is Sean Strickland actually the new No. 1 middleweight in the world?

Gains. UFC and WWE parent TKO closes first day up 2.6 percent on NYSE

Odds. Israel Adesanya opens as slight favorite over Sean Strickland in potential rematch


Noche UFC promo.

Free fight.

PFL Road to Championship.

Submission of the Year contender.

Rapid Rounds: Williams vs. Pirosin.

UFC Journey.

Pereira gives back.


Heck of a Morning. MMA Fighting's Mike Heck discusses the Sean Strickland era — one of the most wild times in UFC history.






Next stop.

Gotta do what ya gotta do.



That’s a lot.

Under pressure.

The recipe's out.

Still weird to see.

Mic work.


Danni McCormack (7-2) vs. Karolina Wójcik (11-3); Invicta FC 54, Oct. 27

Valesca Machado (12-4) vs. Isis Verbeek (4-2); Invicta FC 54, Oct. 27

Kristina Williams (6-4) vs. Dee Begley (4-2); Invicta FC 54, Oct. 27

Hilarie Rose (6-6) vs. Andrea Amaro (3-2); Invicta FC 54, Oct. 27

Julia Dorny (2-1) vs. Riley Martinez (2-0); Invicta FC 54, Oct. 27


It feels like forever ago since Usman was champion. So much has happened in just one year. Going to be very interesting to see who he faces when he returns. I still think the Shavkat Rakhmonov fight is perfect, but we obviously aren’t getting that one anytime soon.

Thanks for reading!



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