Usman 9100 vs Edwards 7100
Pretty amazing how just a few short years ago the masses were calling Usman a boring fighter. A guy who leaned on boring wrestling and just wanted to drag fights into the mud with enough positional control in order to win. Well, now it seems Like amnesia has set in magically because now he is being slated as one of the pound for pound best ever. (Which is a rightfully deserved statement). Not only is he beating the entire division, but he is now lapping them for a 2nd go around. The guy is an absolute anomaly. Fighters like him don’t just show up on your doorstep. Many variables go hand in hand to formulate a recipe for a champion. You obviously need the ability, the genetics, the right team, the ability to evolve, and a certain Hunger and thirst that is never quenched no matter how far you go in this sport. Someone like Connor thirsted his quench. He got the money and the fame, and although he was never that good anyway, he was able to capitalize on a hole in the marketing market. He lost his hunger and it shows. Usman accomplished more than Connor. Fought and beat the better competition and is still grounded and hunger to defend his belt. Just the mindset alone is something of champions. With a 20-1 record, Usman dropped his 2nd career fight to Alex Caceres brother. Since then, he hasn’t looked back nor has he lost a fight since. An 18 fight win streak with 5 title defenses. Usman started really tightening up his boxing game in order to give even the casual fans what they want. Finishes. With 3 finishes in his last 4 fights, Usman is starting to campaign one of the nastiest stiff jabs in the division. A jab that can actually sit you down. With that said he has found a new toy with his power as well. Just asked Jorge Masvidal who was only knocked out 1 time back in 2008 and was completely tomb Stoned by Usman’s power. I think it’s fair to say that Usman can beat you in every department and is as well rounded as you really can possibly get. A big part of this outside of the obvious is his intelligence. Usman is a very cerebral thinker. If you look at all the great champions, they had one thing in common. They were very Intelligent. Many people won’t talk about this. They will go right into their skill set and not into their mind. Well, Even tho genetics do play a role in skill sets, you need to be able to be smart enough to absorb things, see things differently, and play chess while others are playing checkers. It’s actually sad that more people don’t talk about this end of it. For example, let’s go through a few. Muhammad Ali was Brilliant mind. GSP, Matt Hughes, Sakaraba, Rich Franklin, Jon Jones (dumb in life? Yes, but highly cerebral), Daniel Cormier, Rickson Gracie, Randy Couture, Fedor, and the list goes on and on. All these men were of higher intelligence. Hell, even Conor. I never thought he was that good, but he did have a very high intelligence which made him sharp in response. Usman is cut from the same cloth. It’s fun to be a Masvidal, it’s fun to be a Diaz, but when the chips are on the table, the intelligent man wins the chess match. The interesting thing about this fight for me is that Usman is facing another highly intelligent fighter in Edwards.
The one thing that I always said about Edwards was that his intelligence will take him far in the sport, and look where he is now. This is a guy that has literally shown how many adjustments he was capable of making in a very short period of time. He was smart enough to make the reads, pigeon hole his shortcomings, and make them whole. Edwards is now an extremely dangerous complete fighter. With a record of 19-3, he had 6 wins by KO and 3 by way of submission. In his 3 losses, he has never been stopped. His last loss was to Usman back in 2015, and anyone gauging that fight or even weighing it in on this fight is wasting their time. He isn’t the same human anymore and neither is Usman. With 10 straight fights without a loss, Edwards has beaten The Who’s who along the way. However, there are still a few things that I see as an issue in this matchup. One is his ability to finish. More than half his fights have gone to the cards. Beating Usman in a 5 round fight is nothing that comes easy. His work rate, his conditioning, his ability to strike and also his ability to wrestle are all things that come at you at an extremely high level. So out working him for 5 rounds is something that is very unlikely. If someone like Colby couldn’t do it twice, not many people can. You need to also remember against Colby, he knew that wrestling would nullify each other out. In this fight Usman knows it really doesn’t have to stay on the feet if he doesn’t want it to. Edwards is the better striker. I have no doubt in my mind. I know Usman is much improved, but he still doesn’t have those fine details like Edwards who has sharpened his craft in the feet from the very beginning. With that said, Wdwards can’t overcome a lifetime of wrestling that Usman has, and expect that to be an option. On the flip side of that coin, Usman knows that he does in fact have that in his pocket incase things do get dicey on the feet for him, and I expect that to happen. I think in spots, Edwards will in fact get the better of the exchanges. I think Usman knows that too. He has voiced several times that because Edwards claims his wrestling is serviceable, that it will be a Wrestling Match. That has nothing to do with testing his wrestling, but has everything to do with planting a seed in everyone’s mind that if he needs to resort to the wrestling, there is a built in reasoning of why. Edwards is no joke on the feet, and Usman along with his team know that. If you are a fan of striking than it’s hard not to like Edwards. However, that path that Usman has to ground things, will be the deciding factor here. I feel like he will be able to win rounds when needed if he resorts to a takedown or 2. If Edwards keeps this upright, then he gives himself a real chance to win here, but I don’t see him stopping Usman when he fully commits to his roots of wrestling.
The pick: Usman ITD