Kamaru ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ Usman wins a competitive five round decision over his long time rival. and biggest adversary, Colby ‘Chaos’ Covington at UFC 268. With this victory, Usman holds two wins over his greatest foe thus far in the UFC’s welterweight division, where does this leave him?
I think Usman is a phenom, one of those definitive greats that comes around once in a while and OWNS a division (think: GSP, Jon Jones, Anderson Silva). He’s starting to lap the division now, with victories over Covington x2, Burns, and Masvidal x2, even dominating the former champ Tyron Woodley to take the belt in the first place.
In the UFC’s welterweight division, without considering rematches, one man stands out to me as the only fighter who could challenge Usman’s reign.
Luque is on an absolute tear right now, If I see Luque is fighting in an event, I tune in just to see him. Vincente Luque is the walking embodiment of violence, and his finish rate represents this, with 11 wins by KO/TKO and 8 wins by submission, with only 2 decision victories to his name.
I think Luque is the next logical step for Usman, seeing as Usman has beaten all the men that precede Luque on the rankings. He’s a solid matchup for Usman, with fantastic striking fundamentals, grappling, and power to boot. I don’t see it mentioned a lot but Luque also has an absolutely granite chin, and has only been moderately rocked a few times in his UFC tenure by shots that could knock out a horse, he’s also not been finished by strikes in his fighting career. The only element of the fight I see Luque being outclassed is the cardio, but who could actually outmatch Usman in that regard?
Luque also happens to train with Usman, and should have some insight into Usman’s techniques, habits and potential weaknesses. One specialism ‘The Silent Assassin’ brings into the matchup is his exceptional ability to pull off ‘Brabo’ and ‘Anaconda’ chokes, which work especially well when you stuff a takedown and sit head to head with your opponent. This means Usman would have to respect the fact Luque could punish him for failed takedowns.