Kamaru Usmandominated Leon Edwardsfor the better part of 21 minutes, so why didn't the former welterweight champ just chill -- grab, wrestle, stay away -- in the 5th round of their UFC title fight? 'Cause that just ain't the Nigerian Nightmare's personality.
TMZ Sports talked to 35-year-old Usman -- one of the greatest mixed martial artists to ever step foot in a cage -- just two days after his UFC 278 loss ... and we asked if he considered running out the clock over the fight's final 4 minutes.
"No, that's not who I am. When I fight, there's a reason I'm pedal to the medal and I don't look at the clock," Usman flatly told us.
Kamaru then continued ... "That's the way that I fight. I wanted to finish. It was just a beautiful technique. I could've taken him down, but I really wanted to finish and when I was setting up, you know only God knows what I was setting up, I didn't land it."
Despite the loss, Usman, who hadn't taken an L since May 2013, isn't bitter ... in fact, he's very impressed with the head kick with which 31-year-old Edwards ended the fight.
"It was just a beautiful technique. Beautifully timed, and he threw head kicks throughout the fight, but I blocked them all. That one was just money. I'm almost in awe on how good it was but it happens. Champions fall and then they get back and show you why they're champions."
As for all the memes, the people talking crap online, the other fights like Jake Pauland Canelo Alvarez, Kamaru's paying all that no mind at all.
"I am mixed martial artist and I am the best mixed martial artist in the world. So, that's what I need to do. I need to prove that. I think of nothing else right now except that."
"When you sit on top of that thrown, then you can branch out and do other things. Right now, I don't sit on top of that throne right now. I'm not paying attention to all this side noise and side talk or anything like that. Let's focus on what we need to focus on first which is getting that back and then we'll decide."
Following the fight, Dana White told reporters there would be an immediate rematch. A date has not yet been set.