After his third successful title defense on Saturday, it seems like welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is running out of contenders to fight. Of the top five welterweights in the world, “The Nigerian Nightmare” has fought and defeated four of them. Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson being the only one he hasn’t fought.
While most people including myself love “Wonderboy” for his outstanding striking skills and joyous personality, he is still one top five win shy of getting another shot at UFC gold in my opinion.
In his post-fight interview, Usman proceeded to call out “Street Jesus” Jorge Masvidal, saying that the BMF belt holder who accepted their previous meeting on six days notice already had a built in excuse for his loss. Usman said that he would love to finish Masvidal in their next meeting, and “Gamebred” would not have any excuses to fall back on this time.
Although their last meeting wasn’t the most exciting, Usman did what he had to do in the fight and defended his belt. People forget that an opponent switch on six days notice is not an easy transition, even for someone as skilled as Usman.
Now, it is strange for a champion to call out a challenger, especially if the champion has already beaten that challenger in a dominant performance. Why would Usman call out Masvidal after already beating him? Here’s why:
Usman has run through a tough welterweight division since making his UFC debut in 2015. He has beaten the top four contender’s in the division on his road to the belt or while holding the belt, and no one outside the top four really deserves to fight the champ yet. This callout was a result of running out of worthy opponents for Usman at the moment.
“The Nigerian Nightmare” has earned the right to call his shots, after what he has done in is UFC career, especially what he has done after getting his first title shot. He dominated former champion Tyron Woodley and took the belt off of him. He then finished a tough, well-rounded Colby Covington, dominated Masvidal in a short notice fight, and knocked out the dangerous Gilbert Burns.
With that kind of resumé in title fights, the champ deserves the right to do what he wants. The Masvidal call out is genius from Usman. He has already beaten Masvidal and he beats Masvidal eight out of ten times according to me. “Gamebred” is by far the biggest draw out of the top welterweights in the world and Usman wants to and deserves to get paid.
Their previous headliner crossed a million PPV buys! So why not cash in against an opponent who you can beat most nights, and make the most possible money? Perfect callout from the champion.
Although this fight may not sell as many PPVs as their last one because Usman has already beaten Masvidal, it will still do well because of their animosity and Masvidal’s popularity. Also, there are talks that Usman and Masvidal will be opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter, which returns in March. Let’s hope this happens because this would be the perfect build up to the rematch!