Kamaru Usman
Nigerian Nightmare
Out
Injury Knee
Est. Return 6/1/2019
Undergoes knee surgery
WelterweightUFC
Out
March 12, 2019
Usman underwent knee surgery Tuesday but is not expected to be sidelined for too long, Damon Martin of MMA Weekly reports.
ANALYSIS
Usman is expected to be challenged by Colby Covington for the welterweight title, but there has not yet been any official announcement regarding the bout. Additionally, it doesn't appear that the injury will cause any delay in the fight happening. Usman most recently became the new UFC Welterweight champion just over a week ago when he defeated Tyron Woodley via unanimous decision at UFC 235.
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Dominates to win UFC Welterweight Championship
WelterweightUFC
Out
March 2, 2019
Usman became the new UFC Welterweight Championship on Saturday, defeating Tyron Woodley via unanimous decision (50-44, 50-44, 50-45) at UFC 235 in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
Unbelievable. Now only did Usman win the championship, but he did so in truly dominant fashion. Despite facing an opponent who entered the bout sporting the best takedown defense in UFC history (north of 97 percent), Usman got Woodley to the mat on multiple occasions. He was credited with more than three full rounds worth of control time and he won the total strike battle by a count of 336-60. That is not a misprint. It was one of the most dominant performances in a title fight that we have ever seen. It's mind boggling to think that Usman only began training MMA in 2012. He is now the best 170-pounder on the planet and it's not close. He becomes the fourth fighter to win his first 10 decisions in the UFC. Colby Covington (who was cage side Saturday) certainly looks like the front runner for Usman's first title defense. There's no way the company can grant Woodley an immediate rematch after this effort in this one.
Gets next shot at Tyron Woodley
WelterweightUFC
Out
January 6, 2019
Usman will take on Tyron Woodley for the welterweight title at UFC 235 on March 2, Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
The UFC has elected to give Usman this opportunity now that champion Tyron Woodley (hand) is healthy, interestingly passing up interim champion Colby Covington for this spot. While Covington has been on the sidelines since winning the interim belt back in June, Usman fought the same opponent in Rafael dos Anjos and defeated him in an even more dominant fashion, registering 12 total takedowns and taking home a Performance of the Night bonus. Usman has since been willing to take on any contender on short notice, and that activity appears to ultimately be what landed him in the favor of UFC brass. Matchup-wise, this one appears very close on paper, even though Woodley has opened as the betting favorite, likely due to the experience factor. Usman will own physical advantages in both height and reach, in addition to boasting a higher striking differential and greater takedown volume. He's essentially been able to earn takedowns at will since joining the UFC, but Woodley and his 94 percent takedown defense represent a much tougher challenge.
Turns in virtuoso performance
WelterweightUFC
Out
November 30, 2018
Usman defeated Rafael Dos Anjos via unanimous decision (50-43, 49-45, 48-47) at The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale in Las Vegas on Friday.
ANALYSIS
Don't let the close scorecard fool you, this was every bit the mauling that the other two judges saw it as. Usman backed RDA into the cage throughout the fight, sometimes landing hard shots en route to getting takedowns. When it was all said and done, Usman had grounded his opponent 12 times and landed 130 significant strikes. Simply put, There hasn't been anyone who has come close to slowing down Usman during his time in the Octagon. "The Nigerian Nightmare" has now won nine fights in a row in the UFC (13 overall), with his only career loss coming in 2013. Colby Covington appears to be next in line for a date with champion Tyron Woodley at UFC 233 in January but it's difficult to think that Usman has not earned a shot at the winner if that fight takes place.
Tabbed to take on dos Anjos in Ultimate Fighter 28 finale
WelterweightUFC
Out
September 12, 2018
Usman is set to take on Rafael dos Anjos in the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 28 on Nov. 30 in Las Vegas, Aaron Bronsteter of TSN Sports reports.
ANALYSIS
"The Nigerian Nightmare" hasn't fought since breaking both his hands in a victory over Demian Maia back in May, but he'll return to the Octagon in an effort to improve his 8-0 record in the UFC promotion. This also isn't Usman's first time fighting in an Ultimate Fighter finale; he defeated Hayder Hassan in the show's 21st rendition by submission (arm-triangle choke). Dos Anjos certainly is a bit more imposing than Hassan was, given the Brazilian's 17 victories in the UFC promotion, but Usman has a size advantage both in height (6-foot vs. 5-foot-9) and in reach (76" vs. 70").
Pegged as UFC 228 alternate
WelterweightUFC
Out
August 11, 2018
Usman will be on standby at UFC 228 in the event either Darren Till or Tyron Woodley are unable to compete in the main event, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Usman will submit his medicals to the commission and even weigh in on Friday morning, as the UFC will use him as a backup plan if either combatant in the main event is unable to compete for any reason. With Woodley returning from a shoulder injury and Till having missed weight in his last fight, the promotion is taking a wise step to protect itself. Fellow top contender Colby Covington is on the shelf due to nasal surgery, so Usman -- the winner of all eight of his UFC bouts -- will be next in line. Usman hasn't shown a ton of finishing ability during his time with the promotion, but his wrestling would result in a tough matchup for either Woodley or Till.