Leon Edwards reveals what he was thinking before stunning Kamaru Usman KO ahead of UFC 286 trilogy fight at O2 Arena | The Sun

LEON EDWARDS was almost resigned to a decision defeat just moments before he emphatically ended Kamaru Usman's reign as welterweight king.

The Brummie bruiser ended the 'Nigerian Nightmare' that was Usman's reign of terror at 170lbs last August with a stunning fifth-round knockout in the main event of UFC 278 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Having decisively lost the second, third and fourth rounds, Edwards produced arguably the greatest comeback in UFC history with a fairytale head kick with less than a minute left on the clock.

But he was battling on two fronts seconds before he shocked the world: the fight in front of him and the pain of coming up short in the biggest moment of his career.

In an exclusive interview with SunSport, the Jamaican-born Brit said: "I knew that I needed the finish.

"My coach told me and I knew that I needed to go out there and get the finish. I was down three rounds."


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The kick that Edwards, 31, shut Usman's lights off with was far from the "lucky shot" his detractors have labelled it.

It was the product of endless hours of drilling with head and striking coaches Dave Lovell and Henry Cleminson, who spotted Usman's tendency to exaggerate his head movement when parrying.

Rocky said: "That technique, we drilled in camp. We were using it."

As the boisterous crowd began to roar Usman on to victory, Edwards could hear his coaches – along with brother Fabian – call for the shot which would change his life forever.

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He recalled: " I could hear them [my corner] shouting it. 'Head kick head kick'. I could hear them in the corner.

"But I was also waiting for the perfect moment to throw it.

"If you watch the fight, I didn't throw many head kicks.

"It was more inside leg kicks, setting him up and getting his mind away from the head kick.

"Usman's got a tendency where he parries, big parries.

"So I knew if I go and double up on something it would catch him and so it did."

Edwards will be hoping for a less dramatic ending to his first title defence this weekend at UFC 286 in London.

Former dominant champion Usman will be given an immediate crack at regaining the title in a much-anticipated trilogy fight at The O2 Arena.

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But Edwards doesn't believe he'll return to the octagon the same man he was before their rematch.

The pride of Birmingham asked SunSport: "How does he come back from the knockout?"

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