London, U.K. – The debate as to who the best welterweight fighter in the world is can usually be decided by who has the title, but former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman says it isn’t that simple.
“He has the belt so by definition he’s called the champion,” Usman said about current title holder Leon Edwards when he spoke with reporters including Cageside Press on Wednesday.
“He’s the champion. I don’t know, that’s for (fans) to decide. I don’t know how people view him. Between him and I we know…we know…we know. I can’t really speak for everybody else, but he is the champion because he has that belt. Saturday I’m going to go take that off of him.”
Former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman says Leon Edwards has the title, but “we know” who the best is. #UFC286
WATCH: https://t.co/4YwKmmluhh pic.twitter.com/rcZgLmmYFs
— Cageside Press (@Cagesidepress) March 15, 2023
Usman (20-2) has suffered losses before specially in his base sport of wrestling where he learned how to come back from losing a match.
“I’ve just been trained that way. You give me in the first wrestling match in the national tournament I get pinned. Now you’ve got 7 more or however many more coming back in order to be able to get on that awards podium. I’m just wired that way,” he said.
“As soon as we got to that hospital I was just like damn ok. Let’s get ready for the next one. It was a beautiful technique. Great win from him, but it’s time for me to go in there and get violent.”
Edwards had previously said that the altitude of Salt Lake City, Utah at UFC 278 was a factor for him in the fight, but Usman scoffed at it calling it an excuse.
“The one thing that you guys have to really account for is, I know you guys hear a lot of those excuses from him. That wasn’t the first time Leon and I had fought, and that first fight looked a lot like that second fight,” said Usman.
“If he wants to believe that it was the altitude then it is what it is he can believe that, but nothing changes for me. Altitude or no altitude I know what I come to do.”
Edwards seems to believe that Usman will be affected by the knockout at UFC 278 which the former champion chuckled at citing his over 300 wrestling matches.
“Leon hasn’t wrestled in over 300 wrestling matches like I have. Hasn’t competed as many times as I have. When you get pinned, and I’ve been in a situation to where I’ve lost the first wrestling match of the day, now you’re in the consolation bracket. You just got to….it’s a dog fight to try to get back up on that podium,” Usman said.
“I’ve been on that podium a lot of times. To that statement I would say…it’s warranted when you’re speaking about ordinary things and ordinary people. Leon Edwards and I both know that I am not ordinary. I am extraordinary.”
Watch the entire media day scrum with Kamaru Usman above. He headlines UFC 286 as he challenges Leon Edwards for the welterweight title on Saturday night at The O2 Arena.