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By NAN Sports Editor

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Aug. 19, 2022: Caribbean immigrant fighter Leon “Rocky” Edwards will face Kamaru Usman of Nigeria in Saturday’s UFC 278 main event for the welterweight belt in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Edwards, who was born in Jamaica, believes this is the opportune time to fight Usman, who is coming off a torrid, three-fight year in 2021.

“Now is the perfect time,” Edwards (19-3-1) said Thursday. “He’s been in so many wars. He’s been hurt by Colby, hurt by Gilbert. His body is showing that. I’m fresher, I’m bigger, and I’m excited to prove to the world that I’m number one.”

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(L-R) Kamaru Usman of Nigeria and Leon Edwards of Jamaica pose after facing off during the UFC 278 press conference at Vivint Arena on August 18, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

The UFC 278 match-up is a rematch from December of 2015, which was a unanimous decision victory for Usman (20-1).

Edwards has not tasted defeat since, winning his last nine bouts. Yet that loss still drives him, and this finally marks the chance to redeem himself–as well as win his first-ever UFC championship.

“I hate the feeling of losing,” Edwards told Sports Illustrated. “I still hate that loss. Kamaru getting that decision over me has driven me in each fight. It’s a feeling I remember. I think about it every time I train. It’s been a long, hard road of almost seven years to get here. It’s an amazing feeling. I’m happy, I’m grateful, and I’m fully prepared. This is my time.”

If Usman wins, he will extend his UFC win streak to 16, tying the legendary Anderson Silva.

But Edwards is confident: “I’ve overcome so many obstacles to get here, from being born in Jamaica to now fighting for the UFC world title. I know who I am. I’m going out there Saturday to perform, and God willing, I’ll get the victory,” he added.

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