Kamaru Usman absolutely dominated Tyron Woodley to win the UFC welterweight title last Saturday, and renowned coach Henri Hooft thinks his prized student may have ‘broke’ his opponent in the UFC 235 co-main event.
Usman walked away with an authoritative unanimous decision win, and Hooft wasn’t in the least bit surprised.
Speaking to Luke Thomas of The MMA Hour on Monday, Hooft, a former Dutch kickboxer, said everything went according to plan on fight night.
“Of course it’s something special to win a belt at the end, but according to training and everything, how the fight went, it was like Kamaru is the last couple of fights — progressing, putting a lot of pressure, doing what he does best, put his will on his opponent, and you saw what happened. He kinda broke the opponent and won every round,” Hooft said, per MMA Fighting’s Shaun Al-Shatti.
“His fight IQ is so high that, as a coach, you don’t really need to do a lot. ... And what he did the last couple of years with his career and now with the belt, that’s something that he really did by himself. He’s a different guy.”
Despite his five-round thrashing of Woodley, Usman has come under fire from UFC newcomer Ben Askren and former interim welterweight champion Colby Covington, who refers to ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ as Kamaru ‘Snoozeman.’
Hooft isn’t too concerned, however, stating that all the greats have had their share of critics and doubters since the sport’s inception.
“There’s always something,“ Hooft said. “Whatever you do, there’s always something that people think you’re not doing correct. The same kind of thing has been said before about Khabib (Nurmagomedov), who’s dominant. That’s the same stuff. No, I think it’s not a big thing. First of all, you sign for a 15-minute fight, you train for a 15-minute fight, so that’s what you do. And if a knockout or a decision or a submission or a TKO comes, it comes. Everybody wants to win fights before the final bell, but maybe the opponent is good or maybe you can’t stop some guys. And again, there’s always something that people can pick up and say.
“So, you know what, at the end of the day, he did what he had to do against a very dominant champion, Tyron Woodley, with a good camp, good people around [Woodley], and he dominated. So if people don’t like it or people say he has to finish more fights, then step up and do it yourself, right?”
With the win, Usman has surged into the UFC’s top-ten pound-for-pound rankings.