Kamaru Usman dominated his fight the first time he faced Jorge Masvidal, but he wasn’t thrilled because there were so many unanswered questions left. Masvidal had taken that fight on six days’ notice and needed to cut 20 pounds to make weight.
That seemed to take something off Usman’s one-sided victory.
Saturday’s rematch in the main event of UFC 261 in Jacksonville, Florida, was just as one-sided, but this time, he left no doubts.
He became the first man to knock out Masvidal when he landed with a perfectly thrown straight right hand. He dropped Masvidal hard and finished him with three hammer fists on the ground, forcing referee Herb Dean to stop it at 1:02 of the second.
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“Thank you to my man Jorge,” Usman said. “You elevated me. You made me go through the workshop to sharpen up my tools to put on a performance like that.”
There was no controversy, no complaints from Masvidal’s side and nothing but respect for a man who is quickly on his way to becoming the greatest welterweight in UFC history.
That’s a big feat considering what Georges St-Pierre accomplished, but in his last seven fights, he’s defeated Demian Maia, Rafael dos Anjos, Tyron Woodley, Colby Covington, Gilbert Burns and Masvidal twice.
That’s a Murderer’s Row if ever there was one, and he knocked out Covington, Burns and Masvidal in the process.
Masvidal paid tribute, saying, “He showed me something he didn’t show me the first time.”
Usman was confident after going through several training camps with Trevor Whitman, a striking expert who has worked hard on sharpening Usman’s stand-up. It showed on Saturday, as he tagged Masvidal several times with clean combinations in the first round.
Usman, a former Division II national wrestling champion, has an extremely complete all-around game.
“I know with my fundamentals, I’m the pound-for-pound best fighter on the planet right now,” he said.
There aren’t a lot of people outside of Jon Jones’ camp who would argue that right now.
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