After losing his trilogy battle against Leon Edwards at UFC 286 he will have to fight his way back into title contention. A former title challenger appears to be willing to fight right now.
Since his lopsided performance against Rafael dos Anjos back in 2018, “The Nigerian Nightmare” hasn’t engaged in a non-title bout. The wrestler has since defeated some of the strongest competitors in the division’s history, solidifying his status as one of the best in recent memory.
The Nigerian Nightmare made his UFC debut on Fox 17 and extended his winning streak from The Ultimate Fighter by defeating Leon Edwards by a unanimous decision.
After that, Usman had a 9-fight winning streak in the UFC, winning over fighters like Sean Strickland and former UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos.
At UFC 235, Kamaru faced reigning champion Tyron Woodley for the UFC Welterweight Title. He ended Woodley’s three-year title run by defeating Woodley by unanimous decision to win the UFC Welterweight Championship.
Kamaru continued to rule the Welterweight division as he successfully defended his championship against Colby Covington, Gilburt Burns, and Jorge Masvidal twice. In a rematch at UFC 268 against Colby Covington, Kamaru increased his control over the division by winning by unanimous decision.
In contrast, his former foe Leon Edwards would triumph in their rematch and unseat Usman as the welterweight champion. The Nigerian Nightmare suffered his second defeat at UFC 278 when Rocky knocked him out with a last-second kick.
In UFC 286 on March 18, 2023, at the O2 Arena in London, Usman and Edwards engaged in their third meeting. Leon Edwards defeated Usman in a majority decision, ending Usman’s winning streak at two.
Kamaru Usman thanked everyone for their support on Twitter after the fight. And even though he lost to Leon Edwards for the second time and suffered his third MMA loss, the former UFC welterweight champion was kind and paid tribute to “Rocky”:
“A special thank you to my management, family, friends, and fans. I appreciate each and everyone of you. Wasn’t my night but as always we go back to work. Congratulations @Leon_edwardsmma great work”
After losing the championship and the ensuing trilogy against Leon Edwards, Kamaru Usman declared that he is still eager to compete and that he will be making a quick trip back to the octagon. Stephen Thompson aka Wonderboy responded in response to this.
Throughout his time in the octagon, Wonderboy has demonstrated his superior striking prowess. But, despite his prowess in the striking department, Usman can take advantage of one obvious weakness in his armour.
When compared to other standup fighters, Stephen Thompson demonstrates a higher level and establishes his superiority. As evidenced by his defeats of Gilbert Burns, Tyron Woodley, and Belal Muhammad, his dominance in the cage is put to an end when a grappling strategy is used.
Kamaru Usman would have a huge advantage because he is an NCAA Division II wrestler, and he would most certainly win with a lopsided margin.
In order to win back the title, “The Nigerian Nightmare” must defeat who in his future match?
Kamaru Usman will now have to compete his way back into contention after failing to retain the welterweight belt. Who will challenge him when he makes his subsequent appearance?
There aren’t many options available that make sense for the 35-year-old given that Colby Covington has been announced as the next opponent for a title chance and that several top-ranked contenders have already committed to fights.
Unbeaten stars Shavkat Rakhmonov and Khamzat Chimaev are two further viable choices for Usman. Yet, it appears that the latter may be forced into the middleweight division and out of the welterweight division.