The excitement for UFC 258 is starting to build. Kamaru Usman will be defending his welterweight title for a third time in the co-main event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. However, on this occasion, he will go up against his old foe Gilbert Burns, adding an extra bit of excitement to the February 13th card.
The pair are more than familiar with each other, having reportedly sparred over 200 times throughout their professional careers, but it is the defending champion who has the edge in the Usman vs Burns odds. Nonetheless, it is still an incredibly tight bout to call, Kamaru Usman (17-1) is on 16-fight unbeaten streak, whilst Brazilian Burns (19-3) has put together a respectable run of six wins on the spin.
So, with less than a fortnight until Fight Night, let’s take a look at Usman’s last five bouts and discover how he has earned the nickname the ‘Nigerian Nightmare.’ Read on to find out more.
Jorge Masvidal – Win via decision (unanimous)
Kamaru Usman was supposed to go toe-to-toe with Burns at UFC 251 at Fight Island in July last year. However, the Brazilian tested positive for COVID-19, so Jorge Masvidal stepped in at short notice to take on the Nigerian Nightmare. Usman wore out his opponent throughout the five-round encounter and retained his welterweight title as the judges scored the bout 50-45, 50-45, 49-46 in his favour.
Colby Covington – Win via TKO (punches)
Usman vs Colby Covington at UFC 245 was the chance for one of the two fighters to cement their name as the top-dog of the welterweight division. Covington had previously held the interim welterweight belt and Usman was of course defending the division’s title. The fight lived up to its expectations as the pair traded blow-for-blow throughout the gruelling five-round matchup. Both men had failed to knock their opponent to the ground despite some brutal kicks and punches, that was until the fifth round, however, when a strong right hand sent Covington to the mat and Usman subsequently finished him off.
Tyron Woodley – Win via decision (unanimous)
Kamaru Usman and Tyron Woodley co-headlined UFC 235 in Las Vegas in March 2019 and the latter’s welterweight title was on the line. From the first bell, ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ dominated the bout. Throughout the five rounds, Kamaru Usman showed that he can combine all aspects of fighting to great measure. However, despite mixing wrestling and boxing to a tee, he was unable to get a sought-after stoppage, but he did do enough to win over the judges, with the scorecards reading 50-44, 50-44,50-45.
Rafael dos Anjos – Win via decision (unanimous)
Victory over Rafael Do Anjos in the Heavy Hitters Finale at The Palms in Las Vegas was arguably the biggest victory of Usman’s career to that point. The Nigerian Nightmare dominated the former lightweight champion with a well-rounded performance and the judge’s scorecards reflected that (50-43, 49-45, 48-47). The Performance of the Night victory finally earned the 33-year-old the respect he deserved, and it led to the aforementioned title bout against Woodley.
Demian Maia – Win via decision (unanimous)
Usman vs Demian Maia headlined UFC Fight Night 129 in Chile in 2018, but it was far from a thrilling encounter. Brazilian Maia spent much of the fight attempting to take down Usman, but the Nigerian Nightmare continuously thwarted Maia’s best efforts. As the fight progressed, the pair gradually started to trade more blows, with Usman landing the most notable. However, neither could put an end to the fight, and with the bout once again going to the scorecards, the Nigerian, who claimed to have broken both his hands in the five rounds, was crowned the victor.