Kamaru Usman opens up on daughter’s reaction to Leon Edwards knockout

Kamaru Usman has opened up on how he talked his daughter through his knockout loss to Leon Edwards in August.

Usman was knocked out cold by a stunning head kick from Edwards, who took the UFC welterweight title from the “Nigerian Nightmare” in the final minute of their rematch.

Usman, who outpointed Edwards in 2015, will face the Jamaican-born Briton in the main event of UFC 286 on Saturday, as the 35-year-old looks to regain the belt in London.

Opening up on how he explained his defeat by Edwards to his nine-year-old daughter Samirah, Usman told The Independent at a media day on Wednesday (15 March): “Immediately after it happened, I didn’t necessarily see her; she went back to my house in Utah and passed out, because it was late.

“I came over, she slept – she was in my bed. We woke up, and I just had a conversation with her. I told her, ‘Sometimes you lose, sometime you win. Most of the time we win, but sometimes you lose! You’ve got to train hard and get back up there again.’

“When it initially happened she was upset, but the next day she just wanted to play. It was like she didn’t really give a s*** that it happened. That’s the wonderful thing about it: At the end of the day, this is just a competition, and I’m still ‘dad’ to her.

“That’s the beautiful thing about kids: No matter what we do, how big I get, how ‘famous’, how ‘unbeatable’, I’m just ‘dad’ to her. Kids will always remind you of that.”

Despite admitting to being a “fan” of the “beautiful technique” with which Edwards knocked him out, Usman played down the 31-year-old’s performance in their second clash. Asked whether he thinks fans see Edwards as a legitimate champion, Usman said: “I can’t say... He has the belt, so by definition he’s called the champion – he’s the champion. That’s for them to decide.

“I don’t know how people view him. I can’t really speak for everybody else. Between him and I, we know. He has that belt, but Saturday I’m going to take that off of him.

Usman controlled Edwards for much of their rematch, until the Briton secured a late knockout (Getty Images)
Usman controlled Edwards for much of their rematch, until the Briton secured a late knockout (Getty Images)

“For one, [I’ll keep my] damned hands up so [I] don’t get kicked in the head! That’s important. This camp has been basically correcting little mistakes that I made in the fight. I go in there to dominate, I go in there to win, that has never changed. It’s time for me to go in there and get violent.”

The Nigerian-American also dismissed Edwards’ suggestion that his knockout of Usman might have changed the former champion mentally or physically.

“It’s warranted when you’re speaking about ordinary people,” Usman said. “Once a trauma like that happens, most people are gonna be disturbed about it. Leon Edwards and I both know that I am not ordinary; I am extraordinary.”

Usman also said he is excited by the opportunity to fight somewhere new, ahead of Saturday’s event at the O2 Arena.

“That is appealing. I’ve maybe stopped at Heathrow airport 12 times but never been into London. I’ve always wanted to go. Time’s gonna pass by, and you’re gonna look back at some of the amazing things you were able to be part of.

“It’s one of those moments. ‘Headline Vegas’, I did that, ‘headline MSG [Madison Square Garden]’, I did that. What’s bigger? What’s next? I called Dana that night [of the loss to Edwards], I said: ‘Let’s go to London.’

“If it were this summer, it’d be at Wembley [Stadium].”

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