Kamaru Usman is now the welterweight champion of the UFC. In the main event of UFC 261 from VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, the Nigerian Nightmare successfully defending his title with a second-round knockout victory over Jorge Masvidal.
Usman melted Masvidal with a huge right hand after struggling to a draw the first time around.
Usman was not in a rush to get Masvidal to the ground right away. To begin the first round, the two swapped cursory blows, with Usman landing a few powerful punches of his own, but by the middle of the round, Usman was ready to head to the ground.
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) April 25, 2021
Gamebred finally returned to the ring, but the champion took the first round.
In the second round, Usman’s determination to help the challenger paid off handsomely. Usman countered with a clean right hand that landed flat on Masvidal’s face and knocked him to the ground.
The champion pounced easily to secure the victory, Masvidal’s first of his career.
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Usman’s victory over Masvidal in UFC 261 is his second in the last year, according to Gamebred, who praised him for a masterful effort. Gamebred was also defeated by the champion at UFC 251 in 2020, but the challenger was forced to contest him on short notice after Gilbert Burns was forced off the card after testing positive for COVID-19.
Masvidal argued that if he had a whole camp to train for the battle, the fight would be much different. The outcome remained the same as Usman successfully defended his title for the fourth time.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 25, 2021
Usman’s status as the best welterweight in the world is undeniable at this stage. He defeated Tyron Woodley to become champion, and he has since added two victories over Masvidal, a victory over Colby Covington, and a knockout win over Burns.
He’s firmly established himself as the division’s top dog, but he still has work to do if he wishes to overtake Georges St-Pierre as the most dominant fighter in the division’s history. In his second reign as champion, GSP successfully defended his championship nine times in a row.
Usman has been frustrated with the absence of real challengers in the division when another top challenger has been defeated.
“Yeah, these guys have to show me something to let know, to put the fear in me that ‘oh man, I’ve got to get up, I’ve got to wake up and get up and prepare for these guys,’” Usman said, per Damon Martin of MMA Fighting.
“Because right now, there’s not much that they can offer me. There’s just not much cause I’m just so far ahead of them right now that I’m lapping these guys.”
There are a few possibilities for new matchups. In May, Leon Edwards is set to face Nate Diaz, which may bring in a new contender. Another intriguing scenario arises from Khamzat Chimaev’s rise.
One thing is certain: whoever gets the next crack will face Usman as an underdog.