#1 Worst: Usman misses his big chance
As a follower of MMA for over 15 years now, I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that I believe Kamaru Usman is at worst the second-best Welterweight in the world right now behind UFC champion Tyron Woodley. But unfortunately – due to a combination of fighters wanting to avoid him and a less than crowd-pleasing style – he’s been stuck largely fighting prospects like Emil Meek and journeymen like Sergio Moraes.
Last night he was finally faced with a genuine top fighter in Demian Maia – a former title challenger and arguably the best grappler in the division. This was Usman’s big chance to send a message to the rest of the division, but despite winning, he largely missed the mark.
Usman defeated Maia in largely one-sided fashion, but aside from a 4th round knockdown he never came close to finishing the Brazilian and for the majority of the 25 minutes, it was a dull outing that saw the Nigerian stuff Maia’s takedowns and do just enough to beat him on the feet.
Was it Usman’s biggest win to date? For sure, and you’ve got to commend him for fighting a disciplined and smart fight. But if he’d become only the second man to finish Maia – and the first at 170lbs – it would’ve surely put him in line for a title shot. As it is, he may well need to fight at least a couple more times before that happens now.