Kamaru Usman

Nigerian Nightmare


Hang tough in late-notice loss
October 21, 2023
Usman lost to Khamzat Chimaev via majority decision (27-29, 27-29, 28-28) at UFC 294 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
It was a perfectly reasonable effort from Usman against an elite opponent in a fight he accepted about 10 days ago. The first round was an unmitigated disaster for Kamaru, as he was immediately planted on his back and spent the entire frame defending submission attempts from Chimaev, but he got progressively better as the fight moved forward. Round 2 was super close, as was Round 3, although Khamzat landed a late takedown that seemed to be the final nail in the coffin. It remains to be seen if Usman's move to middleweight will be permanent or if this was just a one time thing, but he proved in this fight he can absolutely hang with one of the best in the world at 185 pounds.
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Short-notice middleweight co-main
October 11, 2023
Usman will compete against Khamzat Chimaev in a middleweight fight at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 21, according to Damon Martin of MMAFighting.com.
UFC 294's co-main was initially Chimaev against Paulo Costa before the Brazilian withdrew because of a staph infection in his right elbow. On just 10 days' notice, Usman has opted to take Costa's place, giving the Nigerian Nightmare multiple potential opportunities should he defeat Chimaev in this high-risk showdown. Defeating the undefeated Chimaev would solidify Usman as No. 1 contender for either the UFC Welterweight Championship (to be decided between Leon Edwards and Colby Covington at UFC 296) or the UFC Middleweight Championship (held by Sean Strickland).
Stumbles in quest to regain title
March 18, 2023
Usman failed in his quest to regain the UFC Welterweight Championship on Saturday, falling to Leon Edwards via majority decision (46-48, 46-48, 47-47) at UFC 286 in London.
Although the end result was the same as the fight between the two seven months ago, how they got there was completely different, and not in a positive way for Usman. Kamaru dominated the entirety of the last bout between the two outside of the head kick Edwards landed with just seconds to go. He was much less effective here, eating far too many power shots from Edwards and failing to get his grappling game going on a consistent basis. Usman's cardio appeared considerably weaker, as well. The only reason the scorecards appeared as close as they were was because Edwards was (correctly) docked a point by referee Herb Dean in Round 2 for an illegal fence grab which would have led to an Usman takedown. Otherwise, this fight wasn't in doubt. Usman is one of the greatest welterweights of all time and it would be foolish to write him off, but he'll be 36 years of age this coming May and now has a long road ahead of him to get back to the top.
Set for Edwards rematch
January 14, 2023
Usman will face Leon Edwards in a welterweight title fight in London at UFC 286 on March 18, Nolan King of USA Today reports.
UFC president Dana White confirmed that the trilogy between the two elite fighters will conclude in London, as had been expected after the two matched up on Aug. 20. In the five-round bout, Edwards knocked out Usman with a lethal head kick en route to claiming the welterweight belt.
Stunned by Edwards in Round 5
August 20, 2022
Usman lost his welterweight championship to Leon Edwards via KO (head kick) at 4:04 of Round 5 at UFC 278 on Saturday.
Usman was clearly ahead on the scorecards entering the final frame, but he left himself open to one of the most incredible head kicks in UFC history. It ended in heartbreaking fashion and will likely lead to an immediate rematch given Usman's resume to date (UFC President Dana White did confirm in the post-fight press conference that he hopes to complete the trilogy in London). Prior to the stunning upset, Usman deployed his grappling and clinch work early, but Edwards surprisingly turned the tables and recorded a takedown of his own. It was the first time in Usman's career he has been taken down, and to make matters worse, Edwards took his back and threatened with a deep rear-naked choke, but Usman was ultimately able to escape and survive the round. In Round 2, Usman relied more on his striking, backing Edwards against the cage and landing flurries of shots. He finished with a takedown to likely secure the round and even things up 1-1. Usman kept his momentum going in Round 3 with a dominant frame, landing several big body shots and recording multiple takedowns with plenty of control time, which appeared to really wear on Edwards. The takedowns looked to come easier in Round 4, as Usman escaped a clinch situation before landing an easy double-leg, and he used the position to start racking up ground strikes. He remained in a dominant position for the rest of the frame to likely go up 3-1 on the scorecards. Usman had the clear cardio edge heading into Round 5, and while the output did slow down, Edwards was also started slow. It was a perfectly-timed head kick that put Usman's lights out and ended the show immediately.
Facing Leon Edwards in August
June 11, 2022
Usman (hand) will take on Leon Edwards for the welterweight title in Salt Lake City on August 20.
The two fighters have appeared destined to square off for some time, though exactly when the fight would take place was unclear, as Usman needed time to recovery from surgery on his right hand, a procedure he underwent in February. As recently as mid-May, his agent denied reports that an August fight was in the cards, but it looks as though Usman will in fact be ready to defend his title by then. Usman beat Edwards back in 2015 and has held the welterweight belt since his victory over Tyron Woodley in March of 2019, the 14th fight in his 19-fight winning streak. For his part Edwards hasn't lost since Usman's unanimous decision win over him in December of 2015.