What Next For Kamaru Usman
By Ross Markey
If you cast your mind back on successful title challenges of the past, it’s surely been a considerable time since we’ve witnessed one as dominant over five rounds as UFC 235’s co-main event between Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman. You would have to go back as far back as Cody Garbrandt’s title triumph over Dominick Cruz to find an equally impressive dominating decision.
Scoring an incredible 50-44 on two scorecards, Kamaru Usman neutralized any offensive momentum from champion Tyron Woodley over twenty five minutes to become Africa’s premier UFC champion.
Landing a record number of body shots, many in his smothering clinch, and exacting a draining and top heavy grappling game reminiscent of lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ rarely if ever looked tested on Saturday night. Forcing Roufousport’s Woodley to fight on the outside, which he has become accustomed to in fights with Darren Till and Demian Maia, this time unlike his matchup with Till, he was unable to time that counter right hand as Usman evaded and clinched with forward pressure expertly. So what’s next for the newly minted welterweight king.
According to promotion president Dana White, ‘interim’ welterweight champion Colby Covington was offered Tyron Woodley ahead of Kamaru Usman but refused to accept the bout agreement, allowing Usman to slot into title contention after a win over Rafael dos Anjos.
Parading around Vegas during fight week, Colby confronted an angered Dana in the Palms casino searching for an explanation as to why Usman had replaced him in Saturday’s co-main event. Speaking with Covington as the clock ran down in the welterweight title clash, Dana is said to have reassured Colby that he would be next in line to meet Usman. There’s quite the history between both Usman and Covington, stemming from a press conference appearance between the two with verbal barbs exchanged. After being presented with the title in the Octagon, Usman nearly got into an altercation with Covington who was cageside, furthermore, video footage has also surfaced of a confrontation between the pair with controversial manager Ali Abdelaziz appearing to throw a punch aimed at the American Top Team trainee. Watch the scuffle between the three here:
Colby is ultimately next in line for Kamaru Usman, but expect a potential rematch with Tyron Woodley and successful debutant Ben Askren in the distant future, with huge animosity between the latter and the Nigeria native.