Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre was on top of the world, or “Superman” as this former foe once called him, until the day the French-Canadian phenom got knocked silly by massive underdog Matt Serra in the UFC 69: “Shootout” pay-per-view (PPV) main event.
So yes, “Rush” understands what Kamaru Usman is going through.
Usman was flattened by English rival Leon Edwards in the UFC 278 headliner last month in Salt Lake City, losing his 170-pound title as well as his place atop the promotion’s pound-for-pound rankings. “The Nigerian Nightmare” also came up short in his bid to tie Anderson Silva for the most consecutive title wins at 16.
What will happen to Usman moving forward?
“Kamaru was winning the fight, but he made a crucial mistake that is unforgettable at this level,” St-Pierre told fans during the UFC Paris Q&A (transcribed by MMA Junkie). “He zigged when he should’ve zagged, and credit to Leon Edwards. He did a beautiful setup. It was amazing, and he won the world title. Now they’re going to have a rematch, hopefully, and we’ll see. Things change. You never fight the same fighter twice. You can fight the same name twice, but you never fight the same fighter twice. Every fight leaves a scar, for the best or for the worst.”
What kind of scar the UFC 278 main event left on Usman may be revealed when “The Nigerian Nightmare” completes his trilogy against Edwards in early 2023. As of this writing, Usman remains a heavy betting favorite, despite these cautionary comments from longtime friend and stablemate Khabib Nurmagomedov.
“After a loss, very often we see fighters that a loss can affect their confidence,” St-Pierre continued. “Confidence is very important for a fighter, because you can have all the skills in the world, but if you don’t have confidence it’s like someone that has a lot of money in his bank account, but no way of accessing it. So for the magic to happen, you need the skills and the confidence. So we’ll see how mentally strong Kamaru Usman is, and if he comes back and wins the title, I think it will add up to his legacy even more. But it’s going to be a hell of a fight, a hell of a challenge.”
One of many that await the new (or still) welterweight champion in 2023.