Kamaru Usman silenced any doubters of his status as the best welterweight on the planet. The UFC welterweight champion defended his title at UFC 261 with a stunning victory over Jorge Masvidal, moving his overall record to 19-1.
Usman came into the fight knowing that many were star-struck by Masvidal and were counting the champion out. Usman defeated Masvidal last year on Fight Island, but that fight went to a decision. Masvidal’s took the fight on six days’ notice. His camp repeatedly stated that the loss was due to conditioning, not skill.
This time, Usman resolved to leave no doubts. He dropped Masvidal with a crisp right hand and followed up with five more hammer fists before the referee ended the fight. Handing Masvidal his first knockout loss, Usman allowed his hands to do the talking, silencing both Masvidal and the naysayers.
In his post-fight interview, Usman spoke candidly about the win and what it meant for him, and where he believes he stands.
“I do believe that right now, pound for pound, I am the best fighter on the planet,” Usman remarked.
When asked about the difference in star power and showmanship, Usman held no punches.
“Yeah I understand, you know more power to him, but for myself I am all those things as well. You know, I just show it in a different way . You know, leading up to this fight I didn’t have to show me flying in a private jet or this car or that car. I like nice things too. Don’t get it wrong, but I need to show people that it’s important for them to see the work that goes behind it. You know, I worked for all these things. I worked for the shot the chance to deserve all those nice things. You know, I might have not came in a private jet, but I damn sure I’m leaving them.”
When explicitly asked how satisfied he was with his performance in the rematch with Masvidal, Usman didn’t hesitate to answer. “I’m satisfied. You know, that’s what I said. I wasn’t satisfied with the last one and I wanted to be satisfied tonight.”
The champ followed up by answering questions around the additional five hammer fists that Masvidal received before the stoppage.
“It was extra shots? The ref didn’t pull me off yet, so you know, I keep going until the ref pulls me off. And um, you know, those are super necessary.”
What did you think of Kamaru Usman’s title defense?