With one minute left in his UFC 278 combat with Leon Edwards, Kamaru Usman was most likely desirous about how he would deal with the media after his dominant — albeit imperfect — efficiency.
He was most likely desirous about giving up the primary takedown of his UFC profession to a person that isn’t essentially identified for his wrestling. He must reply to that. Usman’s household sat within the entrance row most likely making an attempt to determine the place their victory dinner could be. Edwards’ crew had run out of expletives to shout at their fighters because it regarded like he was resigned to shedding. The followers on the sold-out Vivint Enviornment started making their method to their vehicles so as to beat the Salt Lake Metropolis visitors.
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The UFC commentary crew had dedicated to discussing Usman’s future because the reigning and defending champion and what could be subsequent for the pound-for-pound king. Would he merely defend his title? Or would he pull off the unprecedented, transferring up two weight lessons to 205 kilos and combating to solidify himself as one of many best combined martial artists of all time?
After which it occurred.
Edwards flashed a proper jab to get Usman to dip his head to the suitable and fired a left head kick that landed flush. It was completely good.
The kick heard ‘around the world 🌎
[ @Leon_EdwardsMMA | #UFC278 ] pic.twitter.com/GfmX7pBnj6
— UFC (@ufc) August 21, 2022
Usman crashed to the canvas in an unconscious heap and, similar to that, all the pieces modified. Leon Edwards was the UFC welterweight champion whereas all of the discuss Usman being the pound-for-pound king and one of many best fighters to ever grace the Octagon went up and smoke.
That’s the merciless fantastic thing about the fantastic world of combined martial arts.
One minute you’re emphatically shedding and the following all of it modifications. You possibly can’t do that in any sport that entails a ball. There is not a 20-point Hail Mary, a 9-point full-court shot, or an 8-run double Grand Slam that may save the day that late from that far down. When defeat is inevitable, it’s inevitable.
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However in MMA, all it takes is one shot and Leon Edwards proved it with arguably the best come-from-behind head kick in UFC historical past. There have been different head kicks — Holly Holm knocking out Ronda Rousey involves thoughts — however that was in a combat that Holm was dominating.
This was totally different.
After a shaky first spherical, Usman started to dominate the combat in each facet. Edwards regarded resigned to shedding as he was repeatedly placed on his again and unable to land something of significance when the 2 had been standing up. The pinnacle kick got here out of nowhere with just below a minute left. It landed with a sickening thud on a person who hadn’t misplaced a combat since 2013.
We’re not speaking about Usman’s place in UFC historical past nor are we discussing how he would fare going to weight lessons as much as problem for the UFC gentle heavyweight title. The UFC arrange for Usman to face Khamzat Chimaev, who was preposterously booked to face Nate Diaz, someday subsequent 12 months. That has now gone up in smoke because the UFC might want to work out when and the place to ebook the rematch between Edwards and Usman.
It occurs so rapidly that somebody you thought was within the dialog for best combined martial artist of all time finally ends up watching their title find yourself round another person’s waist. The dramatic pendulum swing of MMA is the rationale followers love the game as a lot as they do. Nothing is for sure and, not like boxing, there are such a lot of alternative ways to win a combat. If punching isn’t working, you kick. If kicking isn’t working, you’re taking it to the bottom. If taking it to the bottom isn’t working, you discover some distinctive combination of all the pieces and check out that. However you’re by no means, ever out of a combat.
Leon Edwards proved that in probably the most violent manner.
And in a sport that doesn’t have a lot of a longtime historical past, issues change quickly. Not like boxing the place the likes of Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson created practically insurmountable mountains to climb over the course of the previous century, MMA has actually simply turn out to be a part of our sports activities existence up to now couple of a long time. When issues change, they modify quick.
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It’s not over for Kamaru Usman as he’ll certainly get an opportunity to redeem himself in a rematch. However he’ll exit the present pound-for-pound dialog, falling behind the likes of Charles Oliveira, Alexander Volkanovski and Jon Jones. In the meantime, Edwards went from simply one other opponent to a world champion in a matter of seconds.
Between the tears that Edwards spilled onto the canvas after realizing he pulled off the unthinkable and the bewilderment that Usman wore after regaining his consciousness, it’s obscure how rapidly fortunes can change.
However that chaotic magnificence is what attracts us to MMA. There’ll all the time be one thing that you simply haven’t seen earlier than. Simply while you suppose you understand what is going on to occur, you do not. And also you’re stunned. Leon Edwards is not the primary and he will not be the final, however he undoubtedly is the newest.