Kamaru Usman
Nigerian Nightmare

Nigeria

Meeting Covington for title fight
WelterweightUFC
July 26, 2021
Usman will take on Colby Covington for the welterweight title at UFC 268 in November, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
After Usman was able to defend his title back in April against Jorge Masvidal, UFC President Dana White said that Colby Covington would be next up for a title shot. The two of them fought back in 2019 where Usman was victorious. The "Nigerian Nightmare" will be looking to push his career MMA record to 20-1 with another title defense.
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Cruises to another title defense
WelterweightUFC
April 24, 2021
Usman successfully retained his UFC Welterweight Championship on Saturday, defeating Jorge Masvidal via KO (punch) at 1:02 of Round 2 at UFC 261 in Jacksonville.
ANALYSIS
If he wasn't there before, and he should have been, this performance will cement Usman's status as one of the very best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. Masvidal is known for his elite striking and legendary durability, but Usman knocked him out cold with one of the most perfectly placed shots you will ever see. He also connected on both of his takedown attempts. All in all, it was easily enough to earn him a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus. Usman's greatest attribute is his physicality. He's a true middleweight fighting in the welterweight division and the results reflect that. Everyone -- other than Khabib Nurmagomedov -- loses in this sport eventually, but it's going to take a heroic effort for someone to get the belt off Kamaru at 170 pounds. UFC President Dana White has already announced that Colby Covington is next in line for a title shot. Usman and Covington fought back in December 2019, with Usman winning via knockout late in Round 5. Colby was doing fairly well in that fight prior to the stoppage. Usman is going to be favored if that bout comes to fruition, but Covington has the skill set to make it competitive.
Booked for headliner at UFC 261
WelterweightUFC
March 15, 2021
Usman (foot) will take on Jorge Masvidal for the UFC Welterweight Championship at UFC 261 on April 24, Mike Heck of MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Usman successfully retained his UFC Welterweight Championship in February when he defeated Gilbert Burns via TKO (punches) at UFC 258, but he sustained a right foot injury during the fight. He'll be able to return to the Octagon just over two months later in a rematch against Masvidal. Masvidal's last fight was in July 2020, when he lost to Usman via unanimous decision at UFC 251. Usman has slight advantages in both height and reach.
Possible medical suspension
WelterweightUFC
February 17, 2021
Usman has been suspended six months by the Nevada Athletic Commission pending medical clearance of a right foot injury, MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Usman successfully retained his UFC Welterweight Championship on Saturday when he defeated Gilbert Burns via TKO (punches) at UFC 258, but he apparently didn't escape unscathed. The 32-year-old will be sidelined at least 30 days due to a right foot injury, and he'll need to submit a clean X-ray in order to avoid a six-month suspension. If his X-ray comes back positive, he must be cleared by a doctor if he hopes to return to the Octagon prior to Aug. 13.
Remains welterweight king
WelterweightUFC
February 13, 2021
Usman successfully retained his UFC Welterweight Championship on Saturday, defeating Gilbert Burns via TKO (punches) at 0:34 of Round 3 at UFC 258 in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
It's going to take a monumental effort to get the belt off Usman at 170 pounds, and this was further proof of that. Burns did his very best and even had the champion in serious trouble in the early going following a massive right hook. Usman was staggered for quite a while but managed to survive and see the end of Round 1. In between rounds, Usman's coach, Trevor Wittman, said he was a champion because of his jab and Usman went out and proved that to be exactly the case. He fired off rocket after rocket, each of which left Burns in considerably worse shape than the previous shot. If Round 2 was bad for Burns, the start of Round 3 was insurmountable. Referee Herb Dean gave Burns plenty of time to recover, but it clearly wasn't happening. Usman is the complete package. He's an elite wrestler who possesses exceptional power and brute strength. It's almost impossible to see a scenario in which another welterweight outpoints this guy for 25 minutes. It's going to take one massive punch -- like the one Burns landed in Round 1 -- to stop him. Usman called out Jorge Masvidal in his post-fight interview. That would be an excellent result for Usman as it would be a fight in which he would be massively favored and should result in a huge payday for the champion. Speaking of paydays, he'll also walk away with one of four $50,000 Performance of the Night bonuses that was awarded at Saturday's event.
Agrees to title defense
WelterweightUFC
January 5, 2021
Usman has agreed to defend his UFC Welterweight Championship against Gilbert Burns at UFC 258 on Feb. 13, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
This matchup has been a long-time coming, as Usman was supposed to face Burns last summer before Burns had to withdraw, and he was replaced with Jorge Masvidal. After a medical suspension, the fight date was then targeted for December but ultimately pushed back. Later reports suggested a February 2021 date, and those have all but been confirmed with both fighters agreeing to the matchup. While Usman has shown incredible striking prowess of late, his undefeated record in the UFC has been built largely off his grappling. Burns will be one of his few recent opponents that will truly challenge him in this area, though Usman has passed every test so far. Oddsmakers currently peg "The Nigerian Nightmare" as approximately a (-235) favorite for the matchup.