UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman was stunned by British Mixed Martial Artist Leon Edwards as he lost his title in their UFC 278 clash at Salt Lake City. Edwards claimed the win via a fifth round KO of the Nigerian Nightmare.
Kamaru Usman was facing Edwards for the second time in his career, having claimed a unanimous decision victory over him back in 2015. After defending his title successfully against Colby Covington in 2021, the Nigerian national was aiming for his sixth consecutive title defence weeks after his younger brother Mohammed Usman had gained traction for his win in the Ultimate Fighter Finale.
Facing Usman was Edwards, who was on a run of nine successive victories in the UFC and was out to prove just how far he had come since that fight seven years ago.
Usman received his first warning of the impending upset as his opponent dominated the opening round. Edwards scored the first take-down of the fight, becoming the first fighter to floor Usman in his UFC career.
Having become aware of the magnitude of what he faced, Usman began to show his class and quality as he dominated a hapless Edwards over the next three rounds, showing the world why he had successfully defended his title five times. Edwards had no answer to his skillset and range.
The fifth and decisive round was where the fight turned on its head. With Usman still in control of proceedings with one minute of the fight left, he lowered his guard ever so slightly. Seeing the gap, Edwards delivered a brutal kick to his head, dropping him to the ground and scoring a knockout.
Leon Edwards successfully dethroned Kamaru Usman as welterweight champion, ending his run of five straight title defences. Despite being dominant on the night, the Nigerian Nightmare was undone by a moment of brilliance from Edwards, ending his reign as champion.