UFC President Dana White has responded to a tweet sent out by legendary boxing trainer Teddy Atlas just before the trilogy fight between Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman started.
Atlas was watching the UFC Welterweight Championship bout, which was ultimately won by Edwards via majority decision. Before the bout started, Atlas hopped on his Twitter account and recalled old trainers telling him that a fighter instantly improves by 30 percent when they become a champion.
Usman- Edwards, the old time trainers used to tell me that winning a Title immediately improves u 30%. Let’s see. #UFC286
— Teddy Atlas (@TeddyAtlasReal) March 18, 2023
During the UFC 286 post-fight press conference, Dana White responded to the theory that those trainers shared with Atlas (via MMAJunkie.com).
“I believe it,” White said. “I think that there’s absolutely a different level of confidence that you have when you win that type of a fight. I can’t even imagine the amount of nerves guys have going into that first fight that you might not feel the second time, and knowing that you have the power and the ability to knock the same opponent out. Plus, you’ve got to look at Usman, who might be a little more gun shy. If you think of all the wars that he’s been in with all the great fighters that he’s beat, this is the guy who knocks him out.”
It’s an interesting conversation given the outcome of the UFC 286 main event. The trilogy fight between Edwards and Usman was made after “Rocky” knocked Usman out in the final round of their August 2022 title fight. For the most part, Edwards was being dominated in the grappling department during the rematch before landing a head kick that knocked Usman out cold.
Edwards showed significant improvements with his takedown defense in the third fight. While “Rocky” looked like a struggling challenger facing an inevitable defeat before landing that head kick on Usman last year, he looked like a champion who belonged at the top of the heap this time.