Salt Lake City, UT — It’s been seven years since UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman last fought with Leon Edwards, and “The Nigerian Nightmare” believes both have grown as fighters.
Their first fight was a non-title affair in 2015, which Usman winning a decision. Since that night, neither man has lost a fight, and they meet again atop UFC 278 this Saturday. But while Usman believes Edwards’ wrestling may have improved, “when it comes down to it, let’s be honest: he don’t wanna wrestle with me,” the champ said during Wednesday’s media day.
Usman’s wrestling has taken him far; his striking has also come into its own. Now, he’s nipping at the heels of Georges St-Pierre in terms of welterweight greatness, though he still has a few title defenses to go. Still, even being in the conversation is “surreal” for Usman.
“It’s very, very surreal. I think that’s what sets me apart, is, in my own head, I know where I’m at. And it’s never enough for me,” stated Usman. “When people are saying some of those things, it’s like ‘aww that’s great,” but in my head, I know what’s enough. So this is 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 f*cking tell me that. I’m humble. I know what humble is. In my own head, I know what humble is. The reason I continue to excel is that I know what humble 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 continue to knock off the next guy and the next guy and the next guy, all of you guys are going to be like ‘sh*t that guy did some work while he was here.'”
Watch the full UFC 278 media day scrum with Kamaru Usman above.