Leon Edwards doubts Kamaru Usman can improve ahead of trilogy fight, predicts dominant win

Leon Edwards
Mandatory Credit: Josh Hedges - Zuffa LLC

Rallying to turn in a spectacular fifth round high kick knockout win over former pound-for-pound number one, Kamaru Usman back in August, undisputed UFC welterweight champion, Leon Edwards has predicted a rather straightforward win over the Auchi native in the pair’s expected trilogy. And doubts the former titleholder’s ability to make wholesale improvements to avoid another loss.

Rematching atop August’s UFC 278 card in Salt Lake City, Utah – Edwards managed to avenge a unanimous decision loss to Usman back in 2015, landing a hail mary, fifth round knockout to clinch the undisputed welterweight crown.

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Undefeated in his last 11 straight fights, Edwards, a staple of Team Renagade BJJ & MMA – managed to turn in a brutal left high kick knockout win over Usman in the final round of their pay-per-view headliner, slumping the Nigerian-born force and handing him his first promotional defeat.

Tied to an immediate title trilogy rubber match with Usman in the new year, Edwards recently explained how he expects to return to the Octagon by March of next year – possibly in line with a potential U.K. return for the UFC

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Leon Edwards previews his 2023 rubber match with Kamaru Usman

Commenting on his performance against Usman earlier this summer, Edwards insisted that the now-former champion was at his best in Utah, while he himself was at his absolute worst. 

“It was one of the worst performances of my career, and that was the best (Kamaru) Usman we’re going to get,” Leon Edwards told the Daily Star during a recent interview. “That’s what he does in fights that’s the best we will see. And it was the worst of me.”

“I think it will be a totally different fight – with the same result,” Leon Edwards said of a 2023 trilogy bout against Kamaru Usman. …”I thought the altitude played a big difference, my body wasn’t reacting, but it felt slower, I was slower to react. We took all the precautions to try to avoid it but yeah it played a massive part.”

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Before his shocking KO loss to Edwards, Usman had turned in an impressive series of successful title defenses against Gilbert Burns and twice defeating rivals, Jorge Masvidal, and Colby Covington – each.