At UFC 286 in London, Leon Edwards defeated Kamaru Usman by unanimous decision to retain his welterweight UFC championship.
The British fighter, who has gone 12 fights without losing in the UFC, kept his championship in front of his home crowd, thanks to a masterful striking performance that stopped most of Usman’s attempts at takedowns.
In the final match of their trilogy, the 31-year-old defeated former champion Kamaru Usman by a point. Even though the score was tight, Edwards made the cleaner strokes.
Edwards won by a majority decision after the judges scored the fight 48-46, 48-46, and 47-47.
The fight at the O2 Arena was promoted as the largest MMA fight in British history.
Kamaru Usman praised Edwards for his exploits and referred to him as “a great champion”.
While it was close, he acknowledged that he did enough to win.
Usman told BT Sport: “I think I did enough to win the fight but I knew it was close.
“He had a great gameplan. I always said from the start we’d meet again and I’m not done. We will see each other again.
“I always gave him props for what he’s accomplished. He’s a brother like myself and great respect. London you’ve got yourself a great champion.
When asked about his plans to get back in the octagon, ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’, Usman who has now lost two successive fights said: “Not too long. I’ll get back with my coaches. I’m one of those guys, I can’t sit for too long.
“I’ll spend some time with my daughter. You guys get to watch us but you don’t know what we have to sacrifice to be here. We put it on the lines every time,” he added.
“I might take a trip to Miami”– Edwards hints at a bout with Covington
After securing the victory in outstanding style, Jamaican-born Edwards referred to Kamaru as a “great competitor” and hinted of a fight with former interim welterweight champion Colby Covington, who was seated at cage-side, seem likely.
He said: “That man [Colby Covington] has sat out for two years. I might take a little trip to Miami and see what’s going on there.”
On his win against Usman, Edwards said: “He didn’t get any takedowns I was landing cleaner shots. I took out his legs.
“Thanks to Kamaru for being a great competitior.
“I couldn’t get the kick around his head. He had the perfect defence. I was trying to set it up with kicks to the body and legs.
“I know it was a close fight so I knew I had to land the cleaner shots. He didn’t land many clean on me. He just had lots of pressure.”