Former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman of Nigeria named a fighter he can put on the same level as Leon Edwards of Great Britain.
Leon Edwards refused to give up despite losing most of his fight against Kamaru Usman and the former champion said only one past opponent fought similar to the Brit.
Emil Meek was cut from the UFC last year after a string of losses, but Kamaru Usman has said he was the only fighter who tested him like Leon Edwards did.
Usman, 35, was cruising his way to the sixth defence of his welterweight belt against Edwards in their rematch at UFC 278 last weekend, but with less than a minute left in the fight Edwards knocked him out with a last-gasp head kick.
The loss ended Usman’s nine-year unbeaten run and the former champion has admitted the a weight has been lifted off his shoulders following the loss.
The former champion was winning every round of the fight after losing the opening stanza, which has led fans to call for a trilogy fight between the pair. Usman credited Edwards for tenacity in the rematch and said the only fighter who shared his willingness to never give up was Meek.
“Leon’s a tough dude, the reason he’s a tough guy because even when I break his will. The next round it’s almost like he replenishes, he doesn’t stay on E [empty]. He’ll come back even though I remind him very quickly to go back down he always comes back with it. That’s very f****ng dangerous when guys fight like that,” Usman said on the Anatomy of a Fighter.
“The only other guy that really fought like that was Emil Meek, the Viking. That mother*, I would have to beat him into the ground to stop him. Props to him. All I have to do to beat those kind of guys is outclass and I did that [against Edwards], but sometimes something crazy happens.”
Meek fought Usman in just his second fight for the promotion, showing great persistence to get up after being taking down eight times in the fight.
Meek went on to lose his next two fights after being outpointed by Usman and was subsequently cut by the UFC. Usman beat Demian Maia and Rafael Dos Anjos after his win over Meek, later dethroning Tyron Woodley to win the 170lb title.
‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ will likely face a lengthy medical suspension following his knockout loss. Usman recently assured fans he is in good spirits after his defeat and is eager on winning his belt back against Edwards in their third encounter.
UFC boss White is hopeful of having Edwards defend his belt for the first time in the UK, with the promotion targeting a stadium instead of an arena for the fight.