Kamaru Usman has already accomplished a lot in his career and he’ll seek to add another accolade to his resume when he faces Colby Covington for the second time at UFC 268 on Nov. 6.
The reigning UFC welterweight champion already holds the record for the most consecutive wins in the division with 14 in a row and he’s on the cusp of his fifth title defense, which would tie him for second all-time at 170 pounds behind only Georges St-Pierre.
While Usman’s status as the best welterweight in history usually ends up in direct comparison to St-Pierre, his manager believes the debate is already over.
“Listen to me, I love Georges, he’s a friend of mine, but when you talk about being fair, Kamaru is going to break his record,” Ali Abdelaziz told MMA Fighting. “He’s tied with him for the most wins. He’s on a 17-fight winning streak, 13 in the UFC or something like that, some crazy amount of wins. Never been dropped. Never really been beat up in a fight. His only toughest fight was Colby [Covington] and he knocked his ass out.
“The man has never been taken down. Georges cannot say that. We talk about dominance — Kamaru never lost in the UFC. Never even been a close fight in the UFC. Georges lost, close decisions, controversial decisions but he’s a legend. You have to give it Georges but I think Kamaru is the greatest welterweight of all-time now.”
The evolution of Usman’s game since becoming champion has been undeniable because while he’s still capable of using his wrestling to out maneuver his opponents, “The Nigerian Nightmare” has also become a legitimate knockout artist.
Three of his last four wins have come via strikes — including Usman breaking Colby Covington’s jaw at UFC 245 and then flattening Jorge Masvidal in his most recent title defense at UFC 261.
“You see him last fight, what he did, right? He’s not just taking people down. He’s knocking out strikers,” Abdelaziz said. “Jorge Masvidal is one of the best strikers in the division, I don’t care what anybody says. Kamaru knocked him out of the dimension. I was concerned about him. Seriously, because the guy has kids, has family. I don’t want to see anyone get knocked out like that. I was happy for Kamaru but I’m also a human being. I don’t want to somebody get hurt and I’m glad he’s OK and I’m glad he’s fighting.
“But the reality is he’s the greatest welterweight of all-time. Nobody deserves sh*t in this division. In reality, he’s on top right now and he’s going to fight this guy Nov. 6 and he’s going to do something really bad to him.”
Beyond his accomplishments at welterweight, Abdelaziz has faith that Usman could eventually move up to 185 pounds and make a run at a second UFC title.
In fact, Abdelaziz believes Usman’s dominance is so one-sided that he might even surpass another client of his as the GOAT.
“He’s in talks with Khabib [Nurmagomedov], Henry [Cejudo] and all these guys [as the GOAT],” Abdelaziz stated. “He’s going to have more title defenses than all of them. I think he’s going to surpass everyone. My opinion he’s one of the GOATs. There’s three — Khabib, Kamaru, and you have to put Henry there. If Kamaru get a couple more title defenses, he’s above everybody. Because he’s doing it the same way Khabib is doing it but he’s going to have more title defenses. Khabib does have an undefeated record but Kamaru’s only loss was just a slip. It’s a slip.
“At the end of the day, he’s the most dominant champion in the UFC today. I think he’s capable of defending his title as many times as he wants to. I believe he’s capable of going up to 185 [pounds] and winning a world title there, too. I think he’s the best.”
If Usman vanquishes Covington on Nov. 6, there aren’t many opponents left for him at welterweight in the UFC who he hasn’t already defeated.
That’s why Abdelaziz loves the idea of allowing Usman the chance to transcend the sport by testing himself against one of boxing’s best just to see how he stacks up.
“Nov. 6, Kamaru’s going to knockout Colby Covington and after that, I want him to do something crazy,” Abdelaziz said. “I want him to beat up ‘Canelo’ [Alvarez] or somebody, why not? Kamaru, he don’t want these fake fights. He wants a real fight and everybody in boxing is boxing these old guys.
“I was talking to him, he was like, ‘No, I want the pound-for-pound kings of MMA against the pound-for-pound kings of boxing.’ Why not? What does he have to lose? Nothing.”
Usman has mentioned “Canelo” as an opponent he’d love to test himself against one day in the future and stranger things have certainly happened when money, timing, and opportunity come together.
To add to that, Abdelaziz refuses to believe that Usman couldn’t give Alvarez some serious problems in the ring, especially after seeing the success that some other MMA fighters have had in boxing in recent years.
“Don’t understand me wrong, if Dana White says go ahead and put a hit out on these YouTube guys, we would beat them up. But Kamaru has standards of competition,” Abdelaziz explained. “I think Kamaru will do well. Boxers fighting MMA guys have a hard time. We saw a guy like Conor, who simply has no soul — if he would have had a little more heart, he would have lasted a little bit longer, but he broke. He lasted eight rounds with Floyd [Mayweather].
“If you tell me Kamaru cannot last with ‘Canelo’ and rough him up, I tell you you’re wrong. I think Kamaru does very well with Canelo. At the end of the day, we just want to do bigger and better things, and of course, we are team players. We also work with Dana and the UFC to do bigger things together as a team. Opportunities come, and if they come, we’re ready.”