SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — It’s been seven years since UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman last fought Leon Edwards, and the “Nigerian Nightmare” believes both have grown into fighters.
Their first match was a non-championship match in 2015, which Usman won by decision. Neither has lost a fight since that night, and they meet again this Saturday at UFC 278. But while Usman thinks Edwards’ wrestling may have improved, “let’s be honest, be honest: he doesn’t want to wrestle me,” the champion said at media day on Wednesday.
Usman’s wrestling took him far; his striking also came into its own. Now, he’s right behind Georges Saint-Pierre in welterweight greatness, although he still has some title defense to do. Still, for Usman, even in conversation is “surreal.”
“It’s very, very surreal. I think that’s what sets me apart, in my own mind, I know where I am. It’s never enough for me,” Usman said. “When people talk about some of these things, it’s like, ‘Wow, this is awesome’, but in my head, it’s enough that I know what. So it’s one thing, and I’m sure a lot of people in my position feel the same way: when people say “stay humble, stay humble, stay humble.” What? Don’t fucking tell me. I am humble. I know what modesty is. In my own mind, I know what humility is. The reason I continue to excel is that I know what humility is. “
“I just want to put one foot in front of the other,” Usman replied when asked if he was chasing GOAT status or defending it. “As long as I keep knocking down the next guy and the next guy and the next guy, you’re all going to be like, ‘The damn guy did some work here.'”
Watch the full UFC 278 media day rally with Kamaru Usman above.