An Inspirational Story for The Week
Kamaru Usman was seconds away from winning another UFC title and reaching history. He would have cemented himself as one of the best UFC champions.
Yet, despite being so close. Usman lost it all.
Now this story isn't about Usman.
But Leon Edwards, the man who took everything away from Usman in those last seconds.
Leon Edwards' Journey
Edwards grew up in poverty; his dad was murdered as a kid, and he was raised by his single mother. And overall just had a rough upbringing. Yet, in his late teens, he found mixed martial arts and fell in love with it.
This would be the start of his journey in MMA.
He trained obsessively, and MMA became an avenue for a career. Yet, the journey would only get more challenging once he entered the UFC.
Despite being talented, being on a long winning streak, and never complaining, many fighters avoided Edwards.
To make things worse.
He was on the short end of a viral clip of him getting punched backstage by Jorge Masvidal. Which, ironically, helped Masvidal's popularity.
Yet, Edwards was relatively unknown.
The top fighters avoided him since he was too talented but not popular enough. Thus not justifying the risk of fighting him. As a result, Edwards had a hard time finding an opponent. And whenever he did find one, some bad luck caused the matches to fall through. All this caused Edwards to go almost two years without getting a match.
But Edwards didn't get discouraged.
He trained and was patient for the next opportunity.
Which did come.
He got a fight with another contender Belal Muhammed.
Edwards was winning this match comfortably until he accidentally eye-pocked Belal. Ending the fight as no contest. Devastating Edwards, as this did not lead him closer to getting a title shot. Despite all the hard work and even winning the fight.
He was still in the same position.
But some good luck would come Edwards's way. He got a match with the mega superstar Nate Diaz.
And in that fight, too, he dominated.
But in the last minute of the fight, Diaz rocked Edwards. Although Edwards survived that moment and won the contest via decision. The MMA world was celebrating Nate Diaz's last-minute punch.
Edwards could not get a break.
He wasn't getting his credit, and his popularity seemed to worsen. It appeared the MMA world did not care about Edwards.
But he kept his head down and kept training.
It would be over a year before he would get his fight. But due to a mix of bad and good luck, he was rewarded with a title shot.
It would be at UFC 278 in Denver against Kamaru Usman.
One of the most dominant UFC champions ever. And one who defeated Edwards almost seven years ago.
But Edwards was ready.
Despite the fight being at a high altitude, Edwards felt he could beat Usman. And in the first round, he was proving this. Using his elite striking, he kept the champion on his heels. Yet, in the next three rounds, Edwards was getting dominated. A combination of Usman's exhaustive wrestling and the high altitude was draining Edwards.
In rounds three to four, Edwards looked like he did not want to be there. His coaches were pleading with him to wake up and do something. Yet, the message did not resonate with him.
Then when the fifth and final round began, Edwards still showed no urgency. In the last ten seconds, Usman steps away from his wrestling. And solely strikes the exhausted Edwards to finish the match.
It looked like a done deal.
But Edwards faked a left jab, which caused Usman to duck a little. But mid-duck, Usman got hit by a kick that landed on his chin. And he collapsed like a folding chair.
Leon Edwards became the UFC's Welterweight champion.
Crying in jubilation. Screaming to the world 'Look at me now' repetitively.
And I can't blame him.
All those years of suffering, training, humiliation, and bad luck. And when it seemed like Edwards blew his hard-earned opportunity, he achieved his goal.
Now, why am I telling you this story?
It's to remind you to never give up.
It's to remind you that you will have bad luck.
It's to remind you to work on yourself.
It may seem like it's not worth committing to your goals or creating the life you want. But you need to accept the journey will be hard, and you may not get the results you hoped for. Yet, if you stay persistent and work on yourself, things will go in your favour sooner or later.
You have to trust the process.
If Leon had given up at any point in his MMA journey (and he had many reasons, too), he would have never landed that kick in those last ten seconds.
Now I'm not trying to motivate you.
I'm just trying to show you the reality and possibilities of life. If you see Life for what it is and still commit to yourself. Trust me, you'll find some form of success. It's inevitable as Edwards winning his UFC belt.
Until next time,
The Charismatic Nerd