Few people expected it to actually happen, but at long last, Kamaru Usman has finally been beaten in the UFC octagon. What this proves is that during a fierce one versus one mixed martial arts contest, anything can and will happen, whenever these outstanding athletes are competing for top honors.
The rise of a genuine UFC phenomenon
Heading into UFC 278 towards the end of August 2022, Usman looked to be in top shape, ready for a sixth consecutive defensive of his UFC Welterweight Championship title. Also considered to be amongst the best pound-for-pound fighters in the MMA scene, “The Nigerian Nightmare” had never been beaten since joining the UFC organization.
But as fate would have it, despite having established such a powerful reputation, Usman felled by a man who had waited seven long years to exact his revenge. Interestingly, the first rival Usman ever faced in his UFC debut was Leon Edwards, back in 2015. That contest went the distance of three rounds, resulting in a unanimous decision victory for Usman.
Since then, Usman had kept on climbing the ladder of success in the UFC, quickly forging a name for himself and a powerful reputation. Indeed, after brushing aside the best contenders around, the Nigerian-born fighter finally earned his title shot. This came in 2019 at UFC 235 in Las Vegas, when Usman defeated Tyron Woodley for the UFC Welterweight Championship belt.
No matter who the UFC put before Usman, nobody could get the better of him. Colby Covington had two attempts and failed both times, as did UFC legend Jorge Masvidal, who was also soundly defeated twice. Gilbert Burns also had a crack at beating Usman, yet even he was punishingly defeated at UFC 258 in 2021.
The surprising fall of a reigning UFC icon
Ahead of UFC 278, the challenge of Leon Edwards met with little concern amongst the bookies. They all had Kamaru Usman as the clear favorite to claim yet another victory. But something seems to have been driving Edwards in that encounter, which the oddsmakers possibly hadn’t accounted for, and that driving factor was possibly revenge.
This is arguably why backing the underdog can often prove worthwhile, particularly when comparing the odds ahead of UFC bouts. Across the Asian continent, Asiabet has gained an excellent reputation for providing expert advice and site reviews, covering all aspects of wagering for every country. Their latest sports betting guides known in Thailand as พนันกีฬาออนไลน์ also highlights where to find the best promotions.
Usman had been expected to dominate, although to the complete surprise of the commentators and millions watching around the world, Edwards ended the headline UFC 278 contest in the fifth round. The Jamaican-born British challenger with an astonishing kick to the head, producing the knockout blow that would win him the UFC Welterweight Championship.
Not only had he beaten Usman in stunning fashion, but Edwards had also felled a rival of giant reputation who many thought had now become unbeatable. Interestingly, there were hints at a potential upset given the record of Edwards, who had remained undefeated himself in ten previous contests, since his last defeat against Usman back in 2015.
UFC plans for Usman vs. Edwards trilogy
Speaking at a press conference after UFC 278, organization supremo Dana White felt that Usman had “fought the perfect fight” against Edwards, up until the fateful head kick that ended it all for the Nigerian champion. In truth, he had looked in control and clearly would have claimed another victory, were the judges to have decided the final outcome.
But the unpredictable nature of UFC bouts is what “makes this sport the greatest sport in the world,” according to White, who quickly tantalized fight fans with the prospect of a trilogy between Usman and Edwards. “How do you not?” he responded when prompted for confirmation, hinting that January 2023 would be the earliest possibility.
Whether either fighter will face other opponents in the meantime remains to be seen, although given the UFC schedule is fully booked and planned, it seems that White already has the next bout in mind for Usman and Edwards. The chances are they will be heading into a third encounter, the kind of winner takes all event that fans always find appealing.
Even after such a surprising defeat against Edwards, it seems that Usman won’t have to wait long for a crack at getting his Welterweight Championship title back. The UFC is already planning ahead, and Usman could next be facing Edwards again in the United Kingdom.