- Kamaru Usman defeated Jorge Masvidal with ease at UFC 251 on “Fight Island” June 12, and is linked with three possible fights.
- Usman said before and after the Masvidal win that he is targeting a mega fight with Georges St. Pierre.
- The UFC president Dana White said Gilbert Burns, the No.1-ranked contender, would be next in line for Usman’s welterweight title.
- The UFC analyst Jon Anik said Burns is “the guy,” Leon Edwards would likely be next in line, but a GSP fight thereafter would be a good legacy-builder for “The Nigerian Nightmare.”
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That’s according to the UFC commentator and analyst Jon Anik, who told Insider last week that “The Nigerian Nightmare” deserves credit for the manner in which he has defeated big-name opponents in his UFC run to date.
Usman dominated the popular Floridian fighter Jorge Masvidal by five-round decision in the UFC 251 main event June 12, the first of four “Fight Island” shows on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
With the win, he advanced his professional MMA record to 17 wins (seven knockouts, one submission, and nine decisions) against one loss.
He suffered his sole defeat in 2013 while competing in a Championship Fighting Alliance show against Jose Caceres, joining the UFC two years later and winning a dozen fights.
“You don’t go to 12-0 in the UFC by accident, and going into the Colby Covington fight he had barely lost a round in the UFC, so I think he deserves a lot of credit,” Anik told us.
Anik then said that while Usman is an accomplished athlete, he’d like to see the 33-year-old further develop his fighting style, and win more championship bouts before he can be placed in the same bracket as all-time greas like St. Pierre.
“There are some nuances to the work that he does in the clinch that maybe he doesn’t get the appreciation for,” Anik said.
“I do think that if he wants to take his fanbase to the next level he’s got to improve his offensive jiu jitsu and maybe add some layers to his game on the ground so he can really start to get guys out of there.
“Unlike Georges St. Pierre, his takedowns aren’t necessarily a thing of beauty. Georges really made the takedown a thing of beauty. And I think for Kamaru, it’s really a war of attrition.
“I’d agree that he’s under-appreciated but he’s only defended the belt twice, so even though the winning streak is tied with Georges, he still has many title defences to go before he’s in that GSP conversation.”
Usman is ‘a beast,’ the UFC president Dana White said
At Yas Island media events attended by Insider, the UFC president Dana White said: “Usman’s a beast, man. Guy’s a beast.”
But added that a bout against Gilbert Burns, the No.1-ranked contender is next. “I think that Gilbert Burns and Kamaru Usman is a really, really good fight.”
The only other welterweight contender truly deserving of a shot at Usman’s title right now is the impressive Leon Edwards.
For Usman, the order will likely be Burns and, if he beats Burns, then Edwards.
Anik said an eventual St.Pierre fight could build Usman’s legacy
“I certainly think that Leon Edwards and Gilbert Burns are both deserving and I hope they get those opportunities, but it’s not hard to see why Kamaru would want to get that fight with Georges St. Pierre because that would be the ultimate legacy builder,” Anik said.
“Even though I think Usman, is right now in 2020, one of the greatest welterweights in UFC history, he just doesn’t have that championship pedigree of Georges St. Pierre and if you can fight GSP in whatever form and beat him, then that is as big as any scalp he can put on his resume.
“But Gilbert Burns is the guy, Dana White has said as much and hopefully Leon Edwards gets the rematch thereafter if Kamaru wins, because I think Leon is as under-appreciated as the champion.”
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