UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is not showing any signs of slowing down. Given his recent performances, 'The Nigerian Nightmare' is currently presenting himself as the most dominant male fighter in the UFC.
From 'Marty' to 'Kamarudeen', the former amateur wrestler has truly come a long way. Kamaru Usman has cemented his place as the undisputed champion of a UFC division that is full of killers.
With his latest title defense against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261, Usman has silenced whatever few critics were left of him. In this article, we take a look at five reasons why Kamaru Usman is the most dominant male fighter in the UFC right now.
#5 - Longest active win streak in UFC
Kamaru Usman has faced a number of threats in recent years, including Colby Covington, Gilbert Burns and Tyron Woodley. However, he was victorious every single time.
The Nigerian Nightmare chose Jorge Masvidal for a rematch at UFC 261. With Masvidal threatening to snap Usman's 13-fight win streak, it seemed the champion was walking on thin ice.
Defeating Gamebred at UFC 261 allowed Kamaru Usman to extend his undefeated streak in UFC to 14. It is currently the longest active winning streak in the world's biggest MMA promotion.
With the record, he has moved up ahead of UFC legends like George St-Pierre, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Jon Jones - all fighters with a 13-fight win streak.
Kamaru Usman is also just two wins behind Anderson Silva (16) to tie the record for the longest win-streak in the history of the UFC. At 33 years of age and with at least a couple more years of action remaining ahead of him, The Nigerian Nightmare may be on his way to the top.
#4 - First fighter to KO Jorge Masvidal inside the octagon
The Nigerian Nightmare's last win against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251 was considered easy, with Gamebred coming in on short notice. However, at UFC 261, Kamaru Usman defeated Masvidal via KO in the second round, despite the latter having no "built-in excuse" this time around.
In defeating Jorge Masvidal via KO, Kamaru Usman achieved a feat that was never heard of in Gamebred's entire professional MMA career. While Masvidal was TKO'd once before in 2008, UFC 261 was his first proper 'lights-out' moment.
Kamaru Usman shocked the entire MMA world when he wobbled a man who was believed to be unbreakable. After the defeat, Masvidal admitted how rare Usman's accomplishment was. He told Joe Rogan:
"First time in my career, and it's in front of all my people, my family and my friends, so it hurts. I've never been knocked out in 50 pro fights. Usman showed me something that he didn't show in the first fight.. I thought we were going to wrestle more. All the props to him in the world. He caught me by surprise.. There's nothing I can say. He won this fair and square. God bless him."
#3 - Highest takedown defense accuracy in UFC history
Kamaru Usman came into UFC riding on his wrestling background. As a freestyle wrestler, he used to dream of winning Olympic gold. However, he transitioned to MMA in 2011 after failing to qualify for the 2012 US Olympic Team trials.
Entering UFC, Kamaru Usman used his wrestling prowess to reach uncharted heights. He hasn't lost a single fight in UFC. He has also achieved a perfect record when it comes to takedown defense. Many UFC fighters have attempted take-downs on The Nigerian Nightmare and all have failed.
Kamaru Usman now has a 100% takedown defense, a record never accomplished before in the MMA promotion.
At UFC 258, Gilbert Burns attempted three takedowns on Kamaru Usman and the champion defended all three. While he has defended all of his opponents' takedowns ever since he got into UFC, Usman's most notable defensive display came in 2018 against Demian Maia.
At UFC Fight Night 129, Kamaru Usman defended all 15 of Demian Maia's takedown attempts. The man could not be uprooted.
#2 - Kamaru Usman has more knockouts than most in the current UFC welterweight division
While Kamaru Usman is lauded for his wrestling skills inside the octagon, it is not the only skill he is excelling at. In many of his recent fights, Usman has not even cared to grapple.
In an impressive display of stand-up skills, the UFC welterweight champion has chosen to trade strikes on many occasions. While his latest KO win against Jorge Masvidal was a testimony to his improved striking game, he finished Gilbert Burns and Colby Covington in similar fashion.
Interestingly, Kamaru Usman now has nine KO/TKO finishes in his professional MMA career. He has outshone welterweights like Gilbert Burns (6), Stephen Thompson (7), Tyron Woodley (7), Colby Covington (4) and Johny Hendricks (8) when it comes to knocking out opponents.
At the apex of the UFC welterweight division with four title defenses already under his belt, The Nigerian Nightmare is still piling up weapons in his arsenal. After his UFC 261 win against Jorge Masvidal, Kamaru Usman said:
"I told everybody, I'm still getting better. The sky's the limit for me as long as I'm doing this.."
#1 - Deserving of the number 1 spot in the UFC pound-for-pound rankings
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is the current number 1 UFC pound-for-pound fighter. However, Jones' last fight came more than a year ago against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247.
Meanwhile, Kamaru Usman has already appeared in three UFC events since the start of 2020. With Jones busy negotiating contracts with UFC for a title shot against heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, the P4P rankings could soon see The Nigerian Nightmare replace Bones at the top.
While Jon Jones has fought four times between 2017 and 2020, Kamaru Usman has been an absolute war-dog, putting in eight fights in the same time period. It is understandable that Jon Jones is waiting for the pay he wants after establishing his legacy.
However, Kamaru Usman has been working relentlessly and now deserves the top spot in the UFC P4P rankings. A change in the listings is expected soon.