Stephen Thompson was all praise for Kamaru Usman during his recent appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Wonderboy disagrees with fans who perceive the welterweight champion as a 'boring fighter'.
Kamaru Usman has mostly been a grappling-intensive fighter throughout his MMA career. Being a former NCAA Division-2 champion, The Nigerian Nightmare predominantly relies on his wrestling acumen to overpower his opponents. This suffocating approach has often drawn criticism from many fans for being lackluster.
Stephen Thompson believes otherwise. The fifth-ranked welterweight lauded the Nigerian-born fighter for pushing the pace against his opponents. Thompson is in awe of the champion's ability not to gas out despite having a muscular physique.
This was evident in Kamaru Usman's quest to claim the title against Tyron Woodley at UFC 235. Usman stamped his authority with a dominant five-round victory over the former champion. He then fought Colby Covington at UFC 245 and finished the former interim champion in the fifth round.
"Some people say he is boring, you know, boring fighter. I think he is great; I think he is a great welterweight. I think he is great, man. He presses the fight. He has got cardio for days. And a guy that has that kind of a physique, shouldn't have that kind of cardio. I think he is great. I think he has got charisma. His striking is getting better. He, freaking, knocked out Colby Covington; TKO'd him, broke his jaw. He beat [Gilbert] Burn with a jab!" said Stephen Thompson.
Stephen Thompson reveals his picks for Saturday's main event
Stephen Thompson is uncertain about how the UFC 261 headliner could play out. Citing Kamaru Usman's accomplishments, he said it would be difficult to pick against him. However, Jorge Masvidal's ability to bolt out of the blue may help him earn a win at UFC 261:
"On paper, it's like, how do you choose against somebody who has been so dominant in the welterweight division -- Usman. But then you get this guy out there who can just, out of nowhere, just hit you with a flying knee. He [Masvidal] is so creative and intelligent," added Stephen Thompson.
Stephen Thompson will purportedly share the cage with Gilbert 'Durinho' Burns next. The fight is expected to feature on the undercard of UFC 264, which is set to be headlined by the Conor McGregor vs Dustin Poirier trilogy match.