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UFC Chile, The Morning After: Kamaru Usman says ‘I should fight for the belt next’

What you may have missed from last night ...

Kamaru Usman didn’t exactly get the spectacular performance he was gunning for last night against Demian Maia, but he did get his eighth win in a row, and that ought to justify a title shot in his mind. Via

“I think I should fight for the belt next,” Usman said at Saturday night’s UFC Chile post-fight press conference. “I just dominated [Maia] better than (UFC champion) Tyron Woodley. Tyron ran from him the whole fight. Tyron threw, what, the fewest strikes in a championship fight ever? And I just went out and I dominated the guy from start to finish.”

“Dominated” might be some strong phrasing. Usman did win a lopsided decision on the judges’ scorecards, but he struggled to mount any meaningful offense of his own throughout the bout, dropping Maia once in the fourth with a straight right hand but failing to follow up effectively.

Usman might be right, however, when he says nobody wants to fight him. His stifling wrestling game can make him a nightmare matchup for many at 170- and he says that includes Rafael Dos Anjos and Colby Covington, who fight each other for the interim welterweight title at UFC 225, and champion Tyron Woodley.

“Let’s be honest. Nobody — nobody in my division wants to fight me, because I am the hardest fight for anybody,” Usman said. “This fight right here, this a fight that Dana White wanted. He wanted to test me against the most dangerous guy in the division, and that was the most dangerous guy in the division. The champion is easier for me to fight. And you’ve got these other two bums that are fighting for an interim title, those guys are bums, those guys are easier for me to fight. This was the hardest fight in the division.

“I believe Dana really wanted to test me to see if I had all the tools, and I proved it. I’m good everywhere. I can defend the takedowns. I can get a guy down if I want them. I can keep it standing and strike. I can do it all.”

Beating Demian Maia in a striking contest doesn’t exactly prove one has “all the tools”, but Usman’s takedown defense certainly was impressive, stuffing all fifteen of Maia’s attempts. Barring an immediate title fight, there is only one bout that makes sense in Usman’s mind: the winner of next weekend’s main event, Darren Till vs. Stephen Thompson.

“Upwards and onward,” Usman said. “It’s either Woodley or the winner of (Darren) Till and ‘Wonderboy’ (Stephen Thompson). That’s it.”

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