UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is one of the most dominant fighters in UFC history. Usman (17-1 MMA, 13-0 UFC) is currently riding a 16-fight winning streak and has scored a win in each of his fights in the UFC. But an undefeated record is the rarest of rare occurrences in MMA, as there is no end to the number of ways one can lose. Even the greatest MMA fighters have tasted defeat in their career and the Nigerian nightmare is no exception.
Kamaru Usman's only loss on his MMA record was handed to him by Jose Caceres, elder brother of longtime UFC featherweight Alex Caceres, in Usman's second MMA fight as a professional.
Kamaru Usman made a successful MMA debut in November 2012 with a first-round TKO win over David Glover. But established fighters' reluctance to fight young prospects is not uncommon in MMA, and Kamaru Usman's formidable NCAA Division 2 wrestling background made it difficult for him to find an opponent in the months that followed. Desperate to continue with his fighting career, Usman accepted the fight against Caceres on less than two weeks' notice.
Despite a strong start to the fight with an early takedown, Kamaru Usman's lack of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu resulted in him making an escape attempt in panic which exposed his back to Caceres. Usman was caught in the rear naked choke and lost the fight via submission in the very first round after fighting off the choke for little over a minute.
"I never grappled before that. I never did Jiu-Jitsu so I figured I could wrestle my way through all this sh*t. I get in the fight, I throw the one-two (Jab and straight punch)... threw him down, full mount. He(Jose Caceres) throws his legs around my body... I didn't know what to do... I started panicking... I turned my body to get up and walk out... He just climbed up my back and Boom! we're not even sweating yet," Kamaru Usman told Joe Rogan.
The loss turned Kamaru Usman into one of the best welterweight fighters of all time
Kamaru Usman's loss against Jose Caceres in the early going of his career prompted the Nigerian American to include Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in his training. Although Usman has only one submission win on his record, The progress in BJJ is evident in his dominant wins over fighters like Rafael Dos Anjos and Demian Maia.
Kamaru Usman went on to receive a BJJ black belt under the tutelage of longtime coach Jorge Santiago after his welterweight title fight win over Tyron Wodley at UFC 235 in 2019.
Although wrestling is Kamaru Usman's primary weapon in his MMA fights, the rapid progression in striking and BJJ has given him an edge over every top-ranked fighter in the UFC and made them vulnerable to one or more aspects of his game.
Gilbert Burns is considered to be one of the few fighters in the welterweight division who poses a big challenge to Usman's dominance with an all-round skillset and an ability to win fights in the stand-up and on the ground. Kamaru Usman has a tough task at hand but a potential win over Burns would significantly reduce the threat to his championship status for a while. UFC president Dana White also believes we could be looking at a probable GOAT candidate in Kamaru Usman if he is able to get the job done at UFC 258.