Jacksonville, FL — Kamaru Usman showed something special, and unexpected, in his main event rematch with Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261 on Saturday night.
Now, he’s looking for the rest of the division to show him something in return.
“These guys gotta show me something. Because right now, I’m the champion. I’m the most active guy in the division. These guys can’t just wait around and wait for me to call their number,” Usman exclaimed during Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “They’ve got to show me something.”
What Usman (19-1) showed Saturday was the continued evolution of his game. While his wrestling has never been in question, the welterweight champion went right ahead and knocked Masvidal out in the second round in Jacksonville, Florida. Beating “Gamebred” at his own game.
Now, the hunt is on for the next contender. UFC President Dana White said Saturday that it’s likely to be Colby Covington. Yet another rematch, yet another opponent Usman has already beat.
“Ask Dana, I’ve fought any and everyone they’ve put in front of me. I’ve never said no. These guys have ducked me for years, but I got here and I haven’t ducked anyone,” said Usman. “This is like a track meet, I’m so far ahead of these guys, I’m coming around the track, and I’m coming around with vengeance right now.”
Indeed, even top contender Leon Edwards has a loss to Usman already on his record. No matter who the UFC pairs him up with, it seems clear he’s on his second lap of the division.
Usman was met with heckles when he walked out at UFC 261, but the champ claimed Saturday night that “it doesn’t make any difference.”
“Boos or cheers, it doesn’t really make a difference to me. I just have to go out there, be a professional, and do my job,” said Usman. “And that’s what I do best.”
By the end of the night, he’d turned some of the boos to cheers. Talk then turned to the possibility of vying for a second title — especially with the lack of fresh faces at 170lbs.
On that front, Usman “would definitely” have a go at it, on one condition. “Not if Israel [Adesanya] is at that weight. That’s my brother, and I’ve said it before, I’d rather two Nigerians with belts than one with two belts.”
There’s plenty of solidarity between the UFC’s African champs. And despite another title defense, Usman would still defer to Francis Ngannou as the headliner when it comes time for UFC Africa, which is targeted for 2022. “I’m the most dominant champion in the UFC period. Next week, I want to see that pound for pound list. Because I think right now, I am the best pound for pound,” stated the welterweight champ. “But when it comes to Africa, how do you deny the heavyweight champion the main event spot?”
Usman’s current win streak now sits at 14 in the UFC. Only Anderson Silva sits ahead of him in thei history books, at 16 — but Usman isn’t focused on that milestone. “I worry about the next one. If don’t take care of the next one, then I don’t get to that number. I worry about the next one, and the next one, and the next one. And we’ll see what happens.”
Watch the full UFC 261 post-fight press conference with Kamaru Usman above.