Kamaru Usman
Nigerian Nightmare

Nigeria

Out
Injury Thumb
Est. Return 7/11/2020
Second title defense tentatively scheduled
WelterweightUFC
Out
February 3, 2020
Usman (thumb) is being targeted for a potential welterweight title defense against Jorge Masvidal during International Fight Week 2020, Marc Raimondi and Ariel Helwani of ESPN report.
ANALYSIS
With the UFC currently setting up Conor McGregor to face the winner of April's matchup between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, Masvidal is suddenly freed up for a shot at the welterweight title. While Usman is expected to be on the fence until June due to a thumb injury, it would line him up perfectly for a matchup July 11. Usman is undefeated in the UFC, and would own height and reach advantages in this proposed matchup. Masvidal is on a three-fight winning streak of his own, however, and appears to be in the midst of a career resurgence. While Usman owns statistically superior striking numbers in terms of both volume and defense, Masvidal has a massive experience edge and has accumulated his marks against superior competition dating all the way back to his Strikeforce days in 2007.
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Receives medical suspension
WelterweightUFC
Out
December 16, 2019
Usman has received a 180-day medical suspension due to a left thumb injury, Nolan King of MMA Junkie reports.
ANALYSIS
Usman retained his UFC Welterweight Championship on Saturday, defeating Colby Covington via TKO (punches), but it did come at a cost. He'll now have to get his left thumb medically cleared before the suspension is lifted.
Battles to retain UFC gold
WelterweightUFC
Out
December 14, 2019
Usman barely retained his UFC Welterweight Championship on Saturday, defeating Colby Covington via TKO (punches) at 4:10 of Round 5 at UFC 245 in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
It was a brilliant bout between two of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, and each man walked away with a Fight of the Night bonus. Usman's victory didn't come easy. Entering Round 5, the judges had the fight 39-37 Usman, 39-37 Covington, and 38-38. It took Usman the better part of ten minutes to find his range. He struggled a bit with the pace of Covington early. In Round 3 however, many of his power shots began to hit home. One massive straight right hand in particular snapped Colby's head back. In between rounds, Covington told his corner that his jaw was broken. Usman continued at a methodical pace in Round 4 before opening up on Colby in Round 5. Covington was upset about the stoppage from referee Marc Goddard, but Usman had Colby in a bad spot and the stoppage seemed totally justified. Usman is a great wrestler (although neither man attempted a takedown on Saturday), has legitimate fight-altering power, and is ridiculously tough. It's going to take a massive, massive effort to take the belt away from him at 170 pounds. It's not clear what's next for Usman, but perhaps a fight with someone like Jorge Masvidal or Leon Edwards might make some sense. It's pretty clear that Covington is the second-best welterweight on the planet but the UFC isn't going to run this one back immediately. Still, the odds are high that they two see each again at some point down the road.
Fight set for UFC 245
WelterweightUFC
Out
September 28, 2019
Usman will defend his welterweight championship against Colby Covington at UFC 245 on Dec. 14 in Las Vegas, Dave Doyle of MMAJunkie.com reports.
ANALYSIS
While this is the third title fight currently scheduled for the December card, this matchup is expected to serve as the main event. Usman sports a 10-0 UFC record and has lost just one fight overall in his MMA career. He won his title by defeating Tyron Woodley at UFC 235, but negotiations for his first title defense stalled for quite some time. He'll now take on another red-hot opponent in Covington, who has ripped through competition during a seven-fight winning streak. The offensive and defensive striking numbers both fall in favor of Usman, as Covington is largely respected for his wrestling-based game plan. Unfortunately for Covington, that happens to be the biggest strength for Usaman as well, as he hasn't been taken down a single time during his 10-fight UFC run. Whoever is able to successfully execute takedowns and maintain top position likely has the edge here, but Usman is pegged as an early betting favorite of approximately (-185), likely due to his advantages in the striking department (not to mention a four-inch reach advantage).
Rocky week of negotiations
WelterweightUFC
Out
September 9, 2019
Usman will no longer face Colby Covington at UFC 244 on Nov. 2 after the promotion instead announced that a fight between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal will headline the card, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Usman and Covington had been rumored to headline the UFC's annual trip to Madison Square Garden for quite some time, but apparently negotiations stalled with Covington. The UFC moved on to attempt to book a matchup between Usman and Jorge Masvidal, but this time it was Usman that couldn't come to terms. Helwani reports that negotiations went so poorly that the UFC nearly stripped Usman of his welterweight title belt. Instead, they moved on to Leon Edwards before talks heated back up with Nate Diaz. Feuding with the company has historically not gone well for fighters, but at least in this case, Usman wasn't highly public about the whole situation. Given he wasn't stripped in the end, this could turn out to be a positive, as he'll get more time to prepare and market a presumed matchup with Covington at a later date.
Likely to face Covington at UFC 244
WelterweightUFC
Out
August 28, 2019
UFC president Dana White confirmed Tuesday that the promotion is planning to have Usman (hernia) take on Colby Covington in a welterweight title fight Nov. 2 at UFC 244 in New York, Damon Martin of MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Still on the mend from double hernia surgery he required in March following his five-round victory over Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 in Las Vegas, Usman (15-1-0) said earlier in the summer that he expects to be healthy by November. Assuming the 31-year-old is still trending positively in his recovery, Usman should be ready to defend his title against Covington (15-1-0), the former interim champion who is riding a seven-fight winning streak. Covington is believed to be in sound health following his Aug. 3 win over Robbie Lawler, so expect the promotion to finalize the fight between the two welterweights within the next few weeks.