Former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is all set to return to the Octagon in a bid to recapture the UFC welterweight title, and he revealed how his family helped him immediately get over the disappointment of losing his title to Leon Edwards at UFC 278.
With the fight seemingly set to go his way on the scorecards, Usman was spectacularly knocked out by an Edwards head-kick in the final minute of their title clash last year as the Englishman dramatically turned the fight in his favour with a moment of magic in Salt Lake City.
It ended Usman’s incredible run of form and toppled him from the top of the UFC’s pound-for-pound list. But, despite suffering the ignominy of being knocked out cold, and the agony of losing his UFC title, Usman was given valuable perspective in the aftermath of that fight by his nine-year-old daughter, who was in the arena to watch her father in action.
“Immediately after it happened, I didn’t necessarily see her,” Usman told reporters during media day ahead of UFC 286 in London.
“She went back to my house in Utah and passed out, because it was late.
“I came over, she slept – she was in my bed. We woke up, and I just had a conversation with her. I told her, ‘Sometimes you lose, sometime you win. Most of the time we win, but sometimes you lose! You’ve got to train hard and get back up there again.’
“When it initially happened, she was upset. But the next day she just wanted to play. It was like she didn’t really give a s**t that it happened. That’s the wonderful thing about it. At the end of the day, this is just a competition, and I’m still ‘dad’ to her.
“That’s the beautiful thing about kids. No matter what we do, how big I get, how ‘famous’, how ‘unbeatable’, I’m just ‘dad’ to her. Kids will always remind you of that.”
Usman will look to return to his family with championship gold around his waist once again when he challenges Edwards for the title in a trilogy fight at UFC 286 on Saturday, March 18. It’s a bout that Usman is confident he’ll win, saying one small correction to his fighting style will make all the difference on fight night.
“For one, (I’ll keep my) damned hands up so I don’t get kicked in the head!” he laughed.
“That’s important. This camp has been basically correcting little mistakes that I made in the fight. I go in there to dominate, I go in there to win, that has never changed. It’s time for me to go in there and get violent.”