Francis Ngannou has claimed that his friend Kamaru Usman was injured heading into his trilogy fight against Leon Edwards at UFC 286, which he lost by unanimous decision.
“I know that he didn’t train,” Ngannou said on his YouTube channel after watching the fight. “He didn’t have (time) to train properly because of a lot of injury, but he was there. He was there.
There had been rumors in the weeks prior to the fight that Usman was dealing with knee problems after being spotted in training with a knee-brace, but when asked about it heading into fight week, the former welterweight champion had attempted to downplay the significance of it.
“My knee pain has been bad for 10 years, I’ve had multiple meniscus surgeries and this is just from wrestling,” Usman had told reporters prior to UFC 286. “I was so hard on my body wrestling because I just wanted to be the champion, I wanted to get there. I was willing to sacrifice whatever it took to get there, but my knee pain has been bad since I crossed over to MMA. It hasn’t stopped me, I’m still whipping dude’s a***.
In hindsight, featherweight star Sean O’Malley has suggested that all the talk about Usman’s knee issues may have been part of his downfall.
“I’m like, imagine going into a fight with someone – just a scary motherf**ker, you don’t know s**t about them, you just know theyre a bad motherf**ker – but now you’re going into a fight with a motherf**ker and you’re like, ‘oh, he can hardly walk, his knees are so bad,'” O’Malley said on his podcast. “Imagine how it makes you feel – a lot different so I think he kind of f**ked up talking about how bad his knees are.”