Kamaru Usman’s Dominance – Boring Fighter or Unbeatable Champ?

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A deeper look that reveals just how dominant of a UFC fighter Usman is
Kamaru Usman

On July 11, Kamaru Usman squared off against Jorge Masvidal in a fight for the welterweight division title. Capping off a completely STACKED card that had three title fights and two highly anticipated bouts, as well as some interesting prelim matchups, the Usman/Masvidal fight was criticized as being boring compared to Holloway v Volkanovski, or Namajunas vs Andrade, both being properly hyped rematches

 

But a deeper look at the fight reveals just how dominant of a fighter Usman is. With a background based in wrestling, complemented by boxing and BJJ, Usman controls where the fight takes place, and grinds opponents down

Controlling the fight

Kamaru Osman - Controlling the fight

Kamaru Usman is an extremely intelligent and hardworking fighter. This combination has propelled him to a 17-1 professional MMA record, undefeated in the UFC, and hasn’t lost since 2013

 

Usman is so dominant, he has NEVER been taken down in the UFC. Not a single time. He has spent over 99% of his time on the ground in a dominant position.

 

The aptly nicknamed Nigerian Nightmare often controls the center of the octagon, and forces his opponent to the edges, where he traps them in between the fence and himself. Once he gets them cornered, he’ll engage in the clinch and punish them with body and leg blows or take them down and ground and pound or attempt submissions

 

Usman likes to pin his 170 lbs of pure muscle against his opponent, and tire them out. If you’ve never done a grappling sport, this is incredibly exhausting. When you have a professional athlete actively fighting your every move and stopping every escape you try, it is both mentally and physically draining

When you lose fights in this fashion, it’s dominant. It debilitates your mental belief and resilience and forces you to dig into your deepest recesses just to keep the fight going and try and get back on your feet.

 

Masvidal is one of the best strikers in the world currently. He is a showman a la Connor McGregor and looks to keep the fight as a standup bout, opponents trading blows hoping for a knockout

 

Usman disrupted this rhythm totally

 

Masvidal won the first round by forcing Usman to respect his distance and then punishing him with punches to the body and occasionally head, and leg kicks. Usman attempted to close the distance and put Masvidal on the ground, but was thwarted with shown knees or evades every time

 

After that it was the Nigerian Nightmare’s fight

 

Kamaru sought positioning, taking the center of the octagon, using his intelligence to bait Masvidal to where he wanted him. Usman would then wait for a Masvidal attack to fight back and force the fight to the edges, where he could pin him against the fence

 

Jorge was fantastic at staying on his feet here, particularly early on, but Usman punished him with striking nonetheless. Stomping his feet, kneeing his thighs and causing charlie horses, shoulders and elbows to the head, hooks to the body, he wore him down and drew early blood

 

After a punishing second and third rounds, Usman was able to put Masvidal on the floor with consistent ease. From there the victory was a walk, he just needed to avoid being knocked out

 

He did just that, and Kamaru Usman successfully defended his title once again

Criticism nonetheless

Despite Usman’s complete and utter dominance, a lot of the language was centered around the champ being boring, or only winning because of short notice

 

Kamaru “Snoozeman,” he was often being labeled

 

Masvidal fans suggested Usman would lose if they each had six months to train and prepare

 

After the Colby Covington fight, Usman’s first defense, the excuses came rushing to the forefront. “The refs cheated Colby,” “Colby was tremendous against an overrated fighter.” These were the sorts of reviews being pushed by a lot of the fan base following Kamaru vs Colby

 

Yes, Colby Covington did put in a good show, but he still got knocked out in the final round. He managed to push the champ to the 5th round, as Masvidal did as well, but lost as time ran down

 

The criticisms first started after Woodley’s fight, where Usman first one the welterweight title

 

They said Woodley was distracted, focused on his rap career instead of his fighting, and too busy planning for the future. 

 

In reality, Usman is just dominant.

Kamaru Usman is the #5 pound for pound fighter in the world

He controls where the fight takes place, whether it’s at the center of the octagon or along the cage. Whether it’s on the ground, in the clinch, or standup

 

He baits his opponent into disadvantageous positions just so he can launch a takedown and get him exactly where he wants him. He’s a tremendously intelligent fighter, and no one in the UFC has shown an answer so far

 

His grocery list of defeated opponents is not lacking in big names either. Leon Edwards, Demian Maia, Rafael Dos Anjos, Tyrone Woodley, Colby Covington, and now Jorge Masvidal can all boast about losing to the Nigerian Nightmare

 

It’s not as if Masvidal is lack for beating wrestlers. His most famous win was the fastest knockout in history against Ben Askren, a renowned and extremely talented wrestler.


Kamaru Usman proves time and time again, he’s worthy of the distinction of fifth best fighter in the world, and it’s time we start putting some respect on his name

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