Kamaru Usman has left no stone unturned in his quest to reach the top of the UFC P4P rankings.
Since his dominant win against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261, Kamaru Usman is increasingly being touted as the UFC's new number one pound-for-pound fighter. The welterweight champion is currently ranked second in the UFC P4P rankings, one spot behind former two-time light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
It is no longer a debate, but only a matter of time before 'The Nigerian Nightmare' gets placed at the apex of the UFC pound-for-pound rankings. Kamaru Usman has been at the center of the GOAT debate in the UFC for a while now. However, it could finally be time for the UFC top brass to settle the discussion.
What led to this shift? How has current UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman proved himself superior to Jon Jones?
3 reasons why Kamaru Usman deserves to be No.1 in the UFC P4P rankings
#3 - Kamaru Usman is the complete package
Kamaru Usman transitioned to MMA riding on his wrestling background. Once called a boring fighter, 'The Nigerian Nightmare' has now transformed into a well-rounded fighter. After defending all three takedowns by Gilbert Burns at UFC 258, Usman made headlines for his wrestling prowess.
He has a 100% takedown defense accuracy, the highest ever in UFC history. Even welterweight legends like Matt Hughes and Georges St-Pierre could not achieve a similar feat in their MMA careers. Having fought 14 times in the UFC so far, no takedown attempt has worked on Kamaru Usman. His claim at the top of the P4P rankings is not undeserving.
While people have been lauding Usman's wrestling IQ and textbook execution, he has now added striking into his arsenal. In recent title defense bouts, Kamaru Usman knocked out the number one and two welterweight fighters - Colby Covington and Gilbert Burns - in dominant fashion.
He didn't rely on his strong suit (wrestling) while putting away the top two contenders of the division, displaying an impressive transformation. Usman destroyed 'Chaos' and 'Durinho' solely through his striking.
More recently, at UFC 261, he slept Jorge Masvidal with a brilliant combination, knocking out a fighter believed to be unbreakable so far. The win saw Usman's claim at the peak of the UFC P4P list become more potent than ever before.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier advocated for Kamaru Usman to be at the top of the UFC P4P rankings. DC said:
"That is so impressive and his (Kamaru Usman's) ability to deal with these guys, in the way that he does, it really is next level because he's fighting the absolute best of the best. That's what happens when you become the champion, you get the most scary, dangerous guy every single time. He's not only beating these guys, he is disposing them in a way that it leaves no question."
#2 - Kamaru Usman has a better winning streak than Jon Jones; second-longest in UFC history
Kamaru Usman is riding an 18-fight winning streak. His only professional MMA loss came in 2013. After defeating Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261, he defended his title for a fourth consecutive time and extended his winning streak in the UFC to 14.
Among the current UFC fighters, Kamaru Usman has the longest winning streak, which is why he deserves to be atop the UFC P4P rankings. Compared to the all-time greats, he is second only to Anderson Silva (16). While 'The Spider' had 25 UFC fights under his belt, Usman needed only 14 appearances to reach where he is.
It is interesting to note that Georges St-Pierre and Khabib Nurmagomedov, two of the greatest UFC fighters ever, achieved a 13-fight winning streak before they retired. Jon Jones' current winning streak is also at 13.
After winning his 14th fight at UFC 261, Kamaru Usman has moved past these MMA legends. There is little to no reason why the current welterweight champion shouldn't be named the number one UFC P4P fighter.
#1 - Kamaru Usman is more active than Jon Jones
While Jon Jones has traditionally been dubbed one of the greatest UFC fighters ever, he hasn't competed for over a year. Jones defended the light heavyweight title on 11 occasions - eight times during his first reign and thrice during his second reign. In 2020, Jones vacated his title to move up to the heavyweight division. Despite his inactivity, Jones still sits atop the UFC P4P rankings.
Jon Jones' achievements in the sport since his MMA debut in 2008 are well-documented. However, he has not shown similar levels of dominance and activity recently. This should make Kamaru Usman the rightful king of the UFC P4P rankings. Jon Jones' inactivity in the last year dilutes his claim at the top of the current UFC P4P rankings.
Meanwhile, Kamaru Usman has defended his welterweight championship four times since winning the belt in 2019, making his claim for the top spot in the UFC P4P rankings even stronger.
He defeated Tyron Woodley in March 2019 at UFC 235. Since then, 'The Nigerian Nightmare' has defended his title against Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal (x2), and Gilbert Burns.
Daniel Cormier backed Kamaru Usman to be placed at the top of the UFC P4P rankings, saying:
"I think honestly, with Khabib gone and Jones' lack of activity, I think Usman is #1 pound-for-pound. I think when these updates come out tomorrow, we should see Kamaru Usman is #1. He's #2 now but I believe what he is doing is so impressive and now the activity, right? Because July to April, we've see him defend that belt three times. He's not sitting on the sidelines waiting, he could've done the show, waited until August but he's back again."
Speaking at the UFC 261 post-fight press conference, Kamaru Usman stated he deserved to be at the top of the UFC P4P rankings:
“If you’re talking body of work, absolutely it’s crazy when you’re looking at the body of work that Jon Jones has put in, it’s ridiculous. He is for sure pound-for-pound but right now actively fighting, I believe with the absence of Khabib [Nurmagomedov], I believe I am the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.”