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5 reasons why Kamaru Usman is the worst matchup for Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor (left), Kamaru Usman (right)
Conor McGregor (left), Kamaru Usman (right)
ANALYST
Modified 26 Apr 2021
Feature

Moments after Kamaru Usman defended his UFC welterweight crown against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261, Conor McGregor suggested the possibility of him challenging 'The Nigerian Nightmare' in the future.

In the main event of UFC 261, Kamaru Usman conquered arguably the last welterweight contender with a reasonable chance of beating him. Currently, the 170-pound weight class is left without a clear-cut challenger for Usman.

According to UFC president Dana White, a rematch between Usman and Colby Covington is the next fight to be made at welterweight.

As far as Conor McGregor goes, he has to settle unfinished business with Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 before he can start calling for the matchups that he wants. But if Conor McGregor gets his wish in the form of a date with Usman in the future, it's difficult to see a path to victory for the Irishman.

On that note, let's explore why Kamaru Usman is the worst matchup for Conor McGregor:


#5 Kamaru Usman has the size advantage

We saw what Conor McGregor looked like at welterweight. During McGregor's first fight in the 170-pound weight class, his opponent Nate Diaz had a noticeable size advantage as he towered over 'The Notorious One'.

Diaz's size played a huge role in how the fight ended. After absorbing some hard shots to the head, McGregor decided to shoot for a takedown. That decision proved to be a fatal mistake on McGregor's part, as the bigger Diaz effortlessly stuffed his attempt and secured a dominant position. Diaz was then able to lock in a rear-naked choke to secure a submission victory in round two.

If Diaz could do that to Conor McGregor, imagine what Usman – the best 170-pounder in MMA – could do to him.


#4 Kamaru Usman will outwrestle Conor McGregor

UFC 229: Khabib v McGregor
UFC 229: Khabib v McGregor

It's no secret that wrestling is still Conor McGregor's kryptonite. Khabib Nurmagomedov completely exposed this in their lightweight championship match at UFC 229. Over four rounds, Khabib imposed his will on McGregor, who had no answers for a wrestling-heavy offense.

Kamaru Usman just happens to be one of the most accomplished wrestlers in the UFC. Before he started a career in MMA, Usman was a well-decorated collegiate wrestler. Usman was an NCAA Division Two national champion, a three-time NCAA Division Two All-American and a NAIA National Championships contestant.

In a hypothetical superfight between Kamaru Usman and Conor McGregor, the UFC welterweight champ should have no problem taking the fight to the ground at will.


#3 Kamaru Usman can outstrike Conor McGregor

UFC 261: Usman v Masvidal 2
UFC 261: Usman v Masvidal 2

During his most recent performance, Kamaru Usman displayed that he's not only a dominant wrestler, but he's also among the deadliest hitters in his division. Usman proved he had the courage to trade blows with a feared knockout artist like Masvidal; and he won the fight very convincingly.

In most of Conor McGregor's fights, he usually has the edge in the striking department. This is why The Notorious One has earned several picture-perfect KO victories during his UFC run.

But against a well-rounded fighter like Usman, McGregor wouldn't have much of an advantage in the stand-up game. Usman has a choice between trying to replicate Khabib's gameplan or beating McGregor at his own game.


#2 Kamaru Usman has never been knocked down

UFC 258: Usman v Burns
UFC 258: Usman v Burns

The only way Conor McGregor can beat Usman is by knocking him out early in the fight. The welterweight champ is light years ahead of McGregor in the wrestling department. It's very unlikely that McGregor could outlast Usman for five rounds.

Unfortunately for Conor McGregor, there's no evidence to suggest that Kamaru Usman can get KO'd. There are not many stats to measure how durable a fighter is. But throughout Usman's nine-year career, not one fighter had enough power to even knock Kamaru Usman down.

This incredible stat just proves that Kamaru Usman has a chin of steel. If true welterweights like Tyron Woodley, Colby Covington and Masvidal can't throw strikes hard enough to knock Usman off his feet, it's difficult to see a natural lightweight like Conor McGregor achieve what other fighters can't.


#1 Kamaru Usman loves shutting up trash-talkers

UFC 261: Usman v Masvidal 2
UFC 261: Usman v Masvidal 2

Lately, it's been a trend for Kamaru Usman to face some of the loudest mouths in the octagon, only for him to silence them.

At UFC 254, challenger Colby Covington – who gained notoriety for making racist comments about African-Americans – literally lost his ability to speak after his fight with Usman. That's because 'The Nigerian Nightmare' broke his jaw in the final round to earn a TKO victory.

The following year, Usman dominated notable UFC trash-talker Masvidal for five rounds en route to a unanimous decision win. Usman recently put 'Gamebred' away once and for all by knocking him out in round two.

Of course, Conor McGregor is one of the most popular talkers in the UFC. If the Irishman wants to fight Usman, he better do his talking with his fists.

Published 26 Apr 2021
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