Leon Edwards feels in prime form ahead of UFC 278, but he is not quite sure Kamaru Usman can say the same. Usman vs. Edwards 2 is a rematch six years in the making and reaches its conclusion on Saturday, Aug. 20 at the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The bout will be a rematch of their previous encounter at UFC on Fox 17 in December 2015. That outing saw ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ claim the victory by unanimous decision.
Now, almost seven years later, the two welterweight stars are set to run it back. However, a lot has changed in that time. Most notably, they’ve both risen from being prospects to being at the top of 170-pounds.
For Leon Edwards, he believes that the time between bouts benefits him. Specifically, he believes that Kamaru Usman’s body is breaking down due to the wars he’s been involved in. Edwards previewed his title fight later this month in an interview with CBS Sports.
Simply put, ‘Rocky’ believes now is the perfect time to face the welterweight champion. He also believes his previous training camps preparing for his ill-fated showdown with Khamzat Chimaev will pay off in this fight. While he was improving in the gym, Usman was taking damage in the cage.
“All I’ve been doing is training. The Khamzat Chimaev fight, for example, that’s three camps. I’ve done many camps and improved leaps and bounds. Now is the perfect time to fight. I think those years looking back on it now were blessings in disguise. It gave me time to hone my skills and polish what I needed to polish. [Usman’s] competed but he’s also been in wars. His body is breaking down and I think now is the perfect time.” (h/t CBS Sports)
Leon Edwards continued:
“But I’m not going in there thinking that. I’m going in prepared for the so-called pound-for-pound best.”
Edwards and Usman fought for the first time in an early prelims bout on Dec. 19, 2015. Usman was awarded a unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28) victory. Neither fighter has lost since that first meeting.