Leon Edwards doubts Kamaru Usman will be the same fighter for UFC 286 trilogy after brutal head kick KO loss | The Sun

LEON EDWARDS reckons Kamaru Usman might not be the same fighter he once was when they renew their rivalry later this year.

The former UFC welterweight champion entered his rematch with the Brit last summer as the sport's pound-for-pound king and was on course to tie Anderson Silva's record of 16 straight octagon wins.

But a perfectly-executed Hail Mary head kick from Rocky in the dying embers of the fifth and final round knocked The Nigerian Nightmare off both perches.

Usman, 35, had never been stopped prior to that fateful night in Utah, which Edwards believes could've had a career-changing effect ahead of their March trilogy fight at UFC 286.

The pride of Birmingham asked SunSport: "How does he come back from the knockout?"

Edwards' confidence is brimming ahead of the rubber match at London's O2 Arena, although it doesn't just stem from the knowledge he can shut the former champion's lights out.


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He said: "I can also take the confidence from knowing that I can take him down, knowing I can hurt him, knowing I can knock him out."

Edwards' knockout of Usman will go down as arguably the most iconic head kick in the history of mixed martial arts.

His claiming of the UFC welterweight strap was the icing on the cake of his fairytale story from council estate tearaway to inspirational Birmingham community figure.

Rocky said: "It's a prideful thing and something that I wear on my sleeve – to try to give back and try to show other kids that it's not where you start, it's where you finish.

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"If you find something you love, it doesn't have to be MMA, it could be anything, just dedicate yourself to it, make a plan and work hard.

"You can achieve something. You don't have to die where you start. That's not it.

"I understand it's hard because I was once there and you feel like the world is against you.

"Especially being black as well, that's even double as hard. It's difficult, but it can be done.

"That was one of my main motivations that drives me, apart from my family that's No1.

"After that, it's the kids that grew up similar to how I grew up – similar backgrounds.

"Or have either been involved in crime or single parents or poverty.

"So for me, I like doing it from Birmingham because they see me every day.

"I'm with them every day hanging around and talking to them.

"It's easy for them to touch me and say, 'He did it and he's like one of the worst back in the day. He's from a similar background to us.'"

UFC® 286: EDWARDS vs. USMAN 3 tickets go on sale from 10:00 a.m. GMT on Friday, January 27 via AXS and Ticketmaster.

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Fight Club members can purchase tickets early at 10:00 a.m. GMT on Wednesday, January 25, whilst those who registered their interest early in this event will gain priority access at 10am GMT Thursday 26.

Follow @UFCEurope on social media for the latest updates on this event. 

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