Kamaru Usman has warned he is feeling violent as he bids for revenge in his UFC trilogy with Leon Edwards.
Usman handed Edwards his third defeat in their first meeting at UFC on Fox 17 in December 2015 when he used his wrestling to his advantage.
But, in their most recent meeting at UFC 278 in Salt Lake City in August, it was Edwards who came away with the victory as he knocked out the American in the fifth round to score one of the biggest upsets in MMA history.
Now the pair are set for a trilogy fight, which will take place in the main event of UFC 286, with Edwards expecting a raucous reception at London’s iconic O2 Arena on Saturday night.
Ahead of the fight, Usman has repeatedly insisted that he will put things right and, during an appearance at media day on Wednesday, the Nigerian Nightmare promised his fans that he will make him pay for knocking him out last time out.
“I go in there to dominate, I go in there to win, that has never changed,” he told reporters.
“I’ve felt violent going into three fights. I felt violent going into the Sergio Moraes fight, because I kept asking for a top-15 opponent, and I felt disrespected that the UFC matchmakers kept giving me guys that weren’t in the top 15. I felt very, very violent and resentful, and I wanted to show that. We saw what happened.
“When I fought Colby Covington the first time, we all know how that build-up was – what he’d said, what he’d done – all around the world. I felt very violent, and I wanted to get violent. Me and Colby, we’re the best wrestlers arguably in the company, and we didn’t wrestle at all, because I felt violent. I wanted to get violent, and we saw how that fight went.
“When I fought Jorge Masvidal the second time, you know, with all that happened… You guys are failing to understand, we both flew across the world, and I was the only one who trained for a completely different guy. I don’t even want to disclose what injuries I was going through for that fight.
“I actually had to quarantine in Vegas, didn’t sleep, and I fought in the morning, and I dominated him. Then after that fight was when he made all the excuses. It upset me to where I felt violent in that second fight, and we all saw what happened.
“In this fight, I’m starting to get that feeling. Some fights, you want to be clean and get out of there and not feel anything; this fight, I want to feel it all.”
It comes after Edwards vowed to send Usman into retirement in front of his home crowd in the UK.
The 31-year-old, nicknamed ‘Rocky’, takes on Usman this weekend in the first defence of his UFC welterweight strap.