Longer term readers of the site will recall my UFC 251 Aftermath post were I said that Kamaru Usman was boringly effective. He had just beat Jorge Masvidal and it was pretty lackluster but dominant.
This post’s title is just a callback to that because Usman was anything but boring at UFC 258. He was hurt by Burns in the first and my heart jumped out of my chest. But Usman pursued and was as mentally strong as you can be. Usman did have some moments where I was rolling my eyes, like kicking the thigh of Burns, a la the Demian Maia fight, but I didn’t even remember that until I thought about the fight. Fact of the matter is, training with Trevor Wittman was a great thing for Usman and he should absolutely stay there. Wittman focused on what Usman did well on the feet and it made him more dangerous. “You are a champion because you jab” is a quote that rings out in my head from Whittman to Usman during the fight.
Usman has a plethora of options that would all do quite well. First is absolutely Leon Edwards. Edwards is at the top and is about as technically sound as you’ll find in the welterweight division at this time. While he’s supposed to fight in March against Khamzat Chimaev, that fight fell through and Edwards is welcoming any challengers. Should he pick up a win there, he’s the number one choice for Usman in the division.
Second: Colby Covington. Covington and Usman went to warren their first fight. Usman won by knockout in the fifth in a fight he was likely losing. The rematch has to happen. The only issue is Covington is one win removed from that loss against a washed Woodley. You’ll find a hard sell on that for Usman with so many other options out there with the beef the two have. In addition, the Whittman-Usman duo would be nightmares for Covington and I believe the fight would be one sided in Usman’s way as opposed to the first.
Third option is the money fight: Jorge Masvidal. I don’t really like this fight but it could help Usman cash in one more time before going through the rest. This fight does nothing for me.