DAILY COURIER |
Patrick Kelechi – UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has admitted that Jamaican-born British professional mixed martial artist Leon Edwards will be the toughest challenger for Kamaru Usman’s title.
Usman will be making the sixth defence of his title when he face Edwards on Saturday at UFC 278, Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City.
This will be the duo’s first clash since their clash seven years ago when they were breaking through the UFC ranks – with Usman emerging winner in a points victory.
The defeat to Usman is Edwards’ solitary UFC set-back with the Brit unbeaten in his last 10 fights, while Usman has won 13 on the bounce.
And ahead of Saturday’s fight, Adesanya believes Usman will be in for the toughest challenge of his reign.
“The biggest threat to Kamaru’s throne is Leon Edwards,’ Adesanya revealed on his YouTube channel.
“I’m going with Kamaru because of his momentum right now. Also, I know how hard he works. Usman is a guy right now that has momentum behind him and I feel like [Edwards] is a guy that deserves this title shot because he’s been overlooked for so long.
“He’s not a guy that sells or that talks or whatever, but don’t be surprised if this fight looks like me versus [Kelvin] Gastelum. It’s going to be who has more heart.”
And commenting on the upcoming fight Edwards’ stated that he is not a fan of Usman’s fighting style.
The 30-year-old said his loss to the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ in 2015 will have no bearing on this weekend’s fight.
“I’ve watched it back a few times and it’ll be two different fights,’ said Edwards of the pair’s first fight. ‘Whoever approaches it thinking ‘it’s going to be the same exact fight’ is going to lose.
“I’ve erased it from my memory and I’m going in there like it’s a brand new opponent, that’s how I’ve planned my camp for it.”
“His wrestling and what he does is pretty basic, it’s nothing like Khabib [Nurmagomedov] or anything like that. His technique is pretty basic, I think he trains on being tough and the stronger opponent in the cage.
“His last three opponents are all built like lightweights. I’m going to be one of the biggest guys he’s fought, a rangy southpaw that has great grappling.”