Las Vegas, NV — Kamaru Usman has a fan in UFC President Dana White. “The kid’s the real deal, man. He breaks GSP’s consecutive wins streak record tonight.”
White is not surprisingly bullish on welterweight champ Usman following UFC 258. Usman, “The Nigerian Nightmare” who has quietly built up a rep as one of the best welterweights in the division’s history, hit 13 consecutive wins on Saturday after a TKO of challenger and former teammate Gilbert Burns. While Usman has a ways to go before matching Georges St. Pierre’s welterweight title defense record, it’s clear the champ has the talent to make a run at that sort of legacy.
“If [Kamaru Usman] doesn’t have the respect now, he should have had it after the [Colby] Covington fight. I can’t stop talking about the Covington fight,” White said backstage following the PPV event. “It’s one of the greatest fights I’ve ever seen. If you didn’t respect him after that, that’s your problem, not his.”
And then there’s Saturday night’s performance. Usman weathered a storm early. He then unleashed a noticeably improved jab, and dropped Burns several times, finishing him early in the third round. He’s put together a number of solid performances now, from capturing the title against Tyron Woodley to Saturday’s impressive outing against Burns. Yet somehow, Usman still feels like one of the most underrated fighters on the roster.
“By who? Not by me. Not by me,” White exclaimed. When it comes to some of the negativity that has surrounded Usman, the UFC President believes it comes down to demographics, it seems.
“You have casual fans that will come in for the big ones. Then you have hardcore fans that will watch everything. There’s different groups of people that will come and go,” White explained. “We can look at who’s watching, and know who watches 10 a year, who watches this. We can do that with the PPVs. And you have totally different groups that come in for different fighters. And the people that know, know. For anybody to say that Usman’s not [one of the best], you don’t know anything about fighting. And that’s okay. You just jump in and watch it because it’s the thing to do, and Conor’s fighting or this guy’s fighting.”
But, continued White, “if you know anything about fighting, and you don’t think that Usman is, you really don’t know anything about fighting.”
Watch the full UFC 258 post-fight press conference with Dana White above.