The ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ had been dominating the fight after the first round but when he leaned down to his right to defend a left hand from Edwards, he was caught flush with a left head kick, sending the more than 17,000 in attendance at the Vivint arena into a frenzy.
Despite the devastating manner of the loss which was his first in the UFC after 16 fights, the 35-year-old is already plotting how and where to reclaim his Welterweight throne.
“I’ve been feening to go to England. I feel like England is my second home now, and England is half Africa. People don’t know that, but it’s half Africa; so it’s time to go over there and entertain my English people, and what better story? You couldn’t write this any better. So, I’m excited to see what’s next, and we will definitely figure something out. What else makes sense? I mean, look at the division,” Usman told TMZ Sports.
“No, it’s absolutely what’s gonna happen next. I’ve talked to Dana (White), and we’re gonna see. I’ll let him do his job, and we’re gonna see what date makes sense. It’s gonna be top of next year. I was gonna try and squeeze one in this year, but it’ll probably be the top of next year, and I want to go to England.”
After being taken down for the first time in his UFC career in the first round, the Auchi-born fighter recovered well and was leading 3-1 on all three judges’ scorecards going into the 5th round before getting caught with a vicious left head kick that knocked him out cold on contact with 56 seconds left in the fight.
“It was a great shot,” Usman said. “A great shot. I’m talking Hail Mary in the Super Bowl, last 10 seconds, that was a great shot. Hats off to Leon.
Both Edwards who is Jamaica-born but resides in Birmingham, England, and UFC president Dana White agree that a trilogy is next, and White even suggested staging the fight at Wembley Stadium in London during his official post-fight press conference in Utah.
With Edwards avenging his unanimous decision loss against Usman in their first fight, a trilogy bout in front of a raucous crowd in England would be a fitting end to a rivalry that dates back to December 2015.