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Champ considering ducking rest of division

PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 1:15 pm
by philphan
Kamaru Usman doesn't see clear contenders after Gilbert Burns: 'No one really stands out'
https://mmajunkie.usatoday.com/2021/02/ ... -258-video
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Kamaru Usman is not impressed with what he’s seeing in his division.

The welterweight champion doesn’t see a clear contender lining up behind title challenger Gilbert Burns, who fights Usman on Feb. 13 in the main event of at UFC 258 in Las Vegas. Usman (17-1 MMA, 12-0 UFC) is respecting Burns (19-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) as a challenger, but looking at what could potentially be next if successful in his third title defense, “The Nigerian Nightmare” just doesn’t see a clear contender in line for the title.

“None of them have really broke out where it’s like, ‘This guy is next for me,'” Usman told MMA Junkie. “So they’re kind of in that thick and in that picture where they’re basically trying to make themselves the next guy up.

“Right now, my focus on is Gilbert Burns. He’s stated that this is a fight that he wants. He believes that he’s that guy, so all my focus is on him. At this point, I see nothing past getting the job done against him. But after that, there’s really no one that stands out. I know (Colby) Covington and (Jorge) Masvidal are kind of pit together where someone goes out there and does something spectacular, the guy … could be the next guy.

“Or (Leon) Edwards and (Khamzat) Chimaev – someone does something spectacular there, they could be the next guy. Of course (I’m) paying attention, but no one really stands out as the next guy.”


Usman knows things could change and hopes that a fighter stands out from the pack, but he’s not stressing over it. For now, Usman is the champion and it’s no longer his job to campaign for a championship fight.

“That’s the thing I had a problem with for years and years, trying to make my way up and all these guys saying, ‘No, I don’t want to fight him because he’s a very high risk and low reward,'” Usman said. “But now, I’m a position that I don’t need to call guys out. You guys have to come to me because I have what you guys think you want.”

Re: Champ considering ducking rest of division

PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 1:31 pm
by PBells
He’s already dodged Burns twice

Re: Champ considering ducking rest of division

PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 1:54 pm
by Mr Meow
Wonderboy is 1 win away from a title shot most likely.

He matches up pretty badly against Usman. Usman's chin has held up incredibly well but if you plods forward like he does in every fight there is a chance Wonderboy lights him up.

If Chimaev beats Edwards the UFC will give him a title shot. Who knows how he looks in fights that go into the third round and if he is put on the defensive.

It will never in a million years happen but Usman vs Bellator champ Lima and ONE champ Abbasov would both be great fights.

Re: Champ considering ducking rest of division

PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2021 4:32 am
by MadTitan
Million dollars says he hugs the living shit out of Burns so bad that Dana pisses out his asshole.

Re: Champ considering ducking rest of division

PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2021 5:20 am
by Oldtoby420
MadTitan wrote:Million dollars says he hugs the living shit out of Burns so bad that Dana pisses out his asshole.


Could just as easly end up going the other way with Burns hugging Usman or they just both hug eachother.

Be better off if they scraped this fight & get Jorge Masvidal vs Leon Edwards to headline this card instead.

Re: Champ considering ducking rest of division

PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2021 6:03 am
by MadTitan
MadTitan wrote:Million dollars says he hugs the living shit out of Burns so bad that Dana pisses out his asshole.


I'll take that bet. Burns KO's Usman in the 2nd round after dominating him in socking fashion in the first round.

:holy sh*t:

Re: Champ considering ducking rest of division

PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2021 6:04 am
by MadTitan
Oldtoby420 wrote:
MadTitan wrote:Be better off if they scraped this fight & get Jorge Masvidal vs Leon Edwards to headline this card instead.


Fucking Right. Needs to happen. Masvidal has to fight him or he's a coward.

Re: Champ considering ducking rest of division

PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2021 8:28 pm
by YMCA
In a relatively weak division I could see it...IF he had truly cleaned out the division.

Mas deserves a full camp rematch, and this sort of comment from Kamaru disqualifies him from any talk about being as good as Hughes career/legacy wise.

Re: Champ considering ducking rest of division

PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:33 am
by MadTitan
YMCA wrote:Mas deserves a full camp rematch


How does that make sense? Since when do "contenders" get immediate rematches (in Jorge's case) for losing on short notice. Back of the line for Masvidal. He has to beat a top guy to get another shot at Usman.

Unless they want to give Usman another easy win LOL. Masvidal is an over-achiever who was in the right places at the right times, it's over dude.

Re: Champ considering ducking rest of division

PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:45 am
by MadTitan
YMCA wrote:this sort of comment from Kamaru disqualifies him from any talk about being as good as Hughes career/legacy wise.


Talk is cheap my friend.

Re: Champ considering ducking rest of division

PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:52 am
by MadTitan
MadTitan wrote:
MadTitan wrote:Million dollars says he hugs the living shit out of Burns so bad that Dana pisses out his asshole.


I'll take that bet. Burns KO's Usman in the 2nd round after dominating him in socking fashion in the first round.

:holy sh*t:


Damn. Almost called it.

Re: Champ considering ducking rest of division

PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:07 pm
by philphan
Belal Muhammad steps up, agrees to Leon Edwards fight for UFC main event on March 13
https://www.yahoo.com/sports/belal-muha ... 30325.html

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Re: Champ considering ducking rest of division

PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2021 5:41 pm
by Oldtoby420
I'd have to agree now atm don't see a good clear contender for Usman at WW, atleast until Edwards, Cheisa or Masvidal proove to earn a shot at em. If Masvidal gets one more good finish under their belt they'd be next with a proper full camp to be rdy for em, as long as they don't try to pull some near year long wait to get the fight done cuz idc to see guys go in to big fights cold with long lay offs anymore is pointless. The guess if Edwards gets a finish maybe he'd be next but looking at his record IMO needs probably 2 good wins fisrt.

Re: Champ considering ducking rest of division

PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:47 pm
by philphan
UFC's Kamaru Usman, Jorge Masvidal Reportedly 'Pretty Close' to Rematch Fight
https://bleacherreport.com/articles/293 ... atch-fight

Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal didn't have time to properly build to their encounter at UFC 251 last July. They might be getting a second chance.
Usman earned a unanimous decision over Masvidal to successfully defend the welterweight championship. Masvidal stepped up at the last minute after Gilbert Burns was diagnosed with COVID-19 and forced to withdraw.

A return bout seems inevitable because it would be a big-money fight for everyone involved with the benefit of more time to build interest.

Usman told ESPN's Brett Okamoto he thought he should get to select his next opponent and expressed a preference for Gamebred:

"He knows he can't beat me. There are certain guys you just know, 'I can't beat that dude.' He just doesn't have the skills to beat me. Now, can a freak accident happen on any given day? Absolutely. But 10 times out of 10, I beat him badly, which is why I looked at him. It's my show. I pick who I fight. At this point, I just didn't like all the circumstances I had to deal with going into [the first fight with Masvidal], and it left a sour taste in my mouth. The s--t they've talked has left a sour taste in my mouth. I need to put him in the ground for good."

Usman's manager, Ali Abdelaziz, also said the idea of tying the matchup together with a season of The Ultimate Fighter had been thrown around with UFC President Dana White.
On merit, one could argue Colby Covington and Leon Edwards are more deserving of a second crack at Usman. They both sit above Masvidal in the UFC's division rankings, and Masvidal lost his only fight of 2020.

But the Miami native appears to have struck a nerve and might be the final choice if the champion appears to have the final say on the matter.

Re: Champ considering ducking rest of division

PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:40 pm
by philphan
UFC debate: Why Jorge Masvidal should(n't) be Kamaru Usman's next opponent
https://www.espn.com/mma/story/_/id/309 ... t-opponent
[img]https://a2.espncdn.com/combiner/i?img=%2Fphoto%2F2021%2F0222%2Fr818250_1296x729_16%2D9.jpg&w=570&format=jpg
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Deciding who should be next to challenge UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is perhaps the hottest topic in MMA, and it involves some of the biggest names in the sport.

Usman dispatched Gilbert Burns via third-round TKO at UFC 258 on Feb. 13, and he immediately called out Jorge Masvidal as his next opponent. It made sense, at least from a financial perspective.

Among the top contenders, a group that includes Colby Covington, Leon Edwards and Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson, Masvidal is the biggest name, which means it could be Usman's most lucrative matchup.

Don't close the book on an Usman-Masvidal rematch just yet

Masvidal hasn't won a fight since beating Nate Diaz on Nov. 2, 2019. His only other fight since then was a unanimous decision loss to Usman last July, but he took that fight on six days' notice. Masvidal has been vocal in saying a full training camp would make a decisive difference.

Covington gave Usman his toughest fight in the UFC. One judge had Covington up 3-1 heading into the fifth round on Dec. 14, 2019, but Usman reached another level and stopped Covington. Covington rebounded with a fifth-round stoppage of former champion Tyron Woodley on Sept. 19.

Edwards hasn't fought since beating Rafael dos Anjos on July 20, 2019, which was his eighth straight win. His last loss was a unanimous decision to Usman in 2015. Edwards is scheduled to fight Belal Muhammad on March 13. UFC president Dana White had talked about an Edwards-Covington matchup, but Covington apparently wasn't interested.

Wonderboy is the only contender who hasn't lost to Usman. He has won his last two fights, but he lost two in a row prior to that.

For his part, Usman has cooled on a Masvidal rematch, at least publicly. There seems to be genuine animosity with these two, and Usman might not like Masvidal cashing in on the excuse that he lost only because of a shortened camp.

Usman also told MMA Junkie that Covington made a mistake in not taking the fight vs. Edwards. Covington said he's in the championship business, indicating what he believes should be at stake the next time he fights.

ESPN reporters Marc Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim disagree on which approach to take, and they're ready to make their cases.

Wagenheim: I'll start by narrowing down the candidates by one: Give the title shot to anyone but Masvidal. I'm disqualifying him because he's coming off a loss. Don't get me wrong; I love watching Jorge fight. I even love how he carries himself in the lead-up to his fights, because I know he lives every word that comes out of his mouth. We have grainy YouTube evidence of that from his days of fighting in the backyards of South Florida. But championship fighting requires -- or should require -- more than a badass persona.

I don't blame Masvidal for accepting Usman's callout; I would expect nothing less from him or any fighter with championship aspirations. I don't even blame Usman for making the callout, because he recognizes that Masvidal is a money fight. But someone has to be the adult in the room, and that falls on UFC matchmakers. If they want their championship belts to mean something, they need to book legitimate title fights. This would not be one.

Raimondi: All these points are noted, Jeff. I understand where you are coming from. But to say anyone but Masvidal should be getting the next title shot? I think that's a step too far. In fact, I'd argue no one has really made a tremendously compelling case recently. Edwards hasn't fought in 19 months. Usman finished Covington. Thompson is only two fights removed from a loss to Anthony Pettis and a two-fight losing streak. Michael Chiesa is still one or two wins away. In cases like these, where there is no standout contender, the UFC is going to go with what does the best business. And that's Masvidal, whose only loss since 2017 was to Usman when he came in on six days' notice last summer. On top of that, Usman called Masvidal out. The reigning champion should get some say as to who his next title defense comes against, don't you think?

Wagenheim: No, Marc, I actually don't think Usman or any champion should have a voice in choosing a challenger. The person wearing the belt is the prey, not the hunter. I do recognize that the most important syllable in the word "prizefighting" is the first one. Money fights are real, and I'm all for them, but they should be traveling a path parallel to the championship track, with only occasional and coincidental meetings at the crossroads.

But again, I'm not criticizing Usman for wanting the biggest payday for his family. This is about the UFC's role in overseeing its championships. I know combat sports are different from other sports. But in any sport that builds toward championships, winning has to matter. If the NFL were run by UFC matchmakers, the Super Bowl earlier this month probably would have pitted the Buccaneers against not the Chiefs but the Patriots. Tom Brady vs. Bill Bellichick -- now, that's the money fight. Who cares that the Pats went 7-9 and failed to qualify for the playoffs?


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Raimondi: This is where you and I have never seen eye-to-eye. I'm not telling you anything you don't know, but comparing MMA to the NFL is not apples to apples. The UFC is a promotion -- it's not a league. The UFC is in the business of selling pay-per-view events and broadcast contracts. That's just the nature of MMA. It has an entirely different structure than other sports. There is no season or playoffs unless we're talking about PFL. Ultimately, who fights for titles and in big main events is decided by the fans. It's somewhat of a popularity contest, sure. If Masvidal is a compelling fighter who more fans want to see, he's going to have a leg up when it comes to matchmaking. I'm not saying that's a good thing or a bad thing. But it's the reality, and we have to accept it for what it is.

Also, I wholeheartedly disagree with you that a champion should have no say as to who he or she fights next. UFC fighters are independent contractors who should absolutely have a say in the trajectory of their careers. The UFC promotes fighters; it should not order fighters around like an authoritarian state. Booking a title fight is a business transaction between two fighters and the promotion. This should not be a fiefdom.

Wagenheim: "Accept it for what it is"? Never! You know me, Marc. I'm all for independent contractors getting to choose their career paths. And yes, I want all of the fighters to make piles of money. But this argument is really about those shiny belts that only 11 fighters from a UFC roster of several hundred athletes get to have affixed around their waists. Those straps are not meant to signify that someone sells the most pay-per-views or has a huge social media following. For that, the UFC came up with a "BMF" belt, and Masvidal owns it. Let him defend that one, and go ahead and call it a "championship" fight. But leave the real championship fighting to those who've earned their way into the cage.

Raimondi: I respect your consistency and your (perhaps naïve) traditionalism when it comes to UFC titles and title shots. In a perfect world, what you said would be the case. But capitalism says otherwise. So, Jeff, because you think anyone except for Masvidal would be a better fit for a title shot, who would you choose? I hate the word "deserve" in MMA -- who's to say who deserves what? -- but who do you think deserves to fight Usman for the belt next?