Kamaru Usman's determination to settle the score with Leon Edwards remains steadfast.
The welterweight title holds a significant place in MMA history, and Usman, having successfully defended it five times, is poised to cement his place among the UFC's Hall of Famers.
However, Usman's reign as champion came to an unexpected end in 2022 when he faced Edwards in a rematch. Although Usman had initially defeated Edwards via a unanimous decision in December 2015, the tables turned in the rematch, and Edwards secured a dramatic knockout victory in the final moments of the fight. In their third and latest encounter, Edwards displayed a masterful performance, defending against Usman's takedowns and meticulously picking apart his opponent en route to a majority decision.
Usman, who currently holds a 1-2 record against Edwards, remains resolute in his desire
“I still felt like like there wasn’t finality to the fight,” Usman told ESPN. “The rest of the world kinda still feels like that but props to him. Right now he has that belt and we have to respect that, but I need finality.
“My thing is I need finality. I need you to show me you are better than me from start to finish. Maybe it’s just me selfishly that I need to feel that. If you can’t show me that, you’re not better than me. I just can’t accept that.
During Usman's championship reign, there were moments when it seemed like retirement was looming closer than expected for the 35-year-old fighter. Usman has openly discussed his lifelong knee injuries, and before his loss to Edwards, he had considered crossover boxing matches and pursuing the light heavyweight title.
Despite currently being in a state of uncertainty until Edwards drops the title, Usman remains optimistic that a fourth fight between the two top-tier 170-pounders is still within the realm of possibility.
“Of course, he did what he needed to do to get the win and he did it, so he’s the champion right now and I respect that,” Usman said. “But I know where I’m at and the level which I still function and where I can. I’m still growing in the sport. As crazy as it is to say, I’m still growing in the sport. So, I’m excited to see what’s next.
“I think Leon needs to definitely keep defending that belt and myself, I’m No. 1 in the world in that division,” Usman said. “I think it’s who’s No. 2? Colby [Covington]. They’re gonna fight and No. 3 is Khamzat [Chimaev]. So, I think a fight with myself and Khamzat, boom. And if he (Edwards) keeps winning, I think that’s the fourth fight, 100 percent.”