Kamaru Usman put on a fairly dominant performance to successfully defend his title against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251 last July. “The Nigerian Nightmare” won via unanimous decision, with two judges giving him a 50-45 tally and one judge scoring it 49-46.
Last week, Usman went on record with ESPN to reveal that he took the fight with a busted nose. As he explained to Brett Okamoto, it happened during one of the sparring sessions during camp.
“Two weeks before, shattered,” he said. “A lot of people haven’t dealt with a broken nose. When anything comes close to your face, you’re trying to defend and not get that nose hit. There are a couple of guys here who hit pretty hard. We can blame that one on Carrington Banks and Justin Gaethje.”
After going through a period of self-criticism, Usman says he wants another go-around with “Gamebred.” This time, he wants to end the fight a lot more decisively.
“I was unhappy because as much as I put into preparing for fights, I basically was just on autopilot that fight,” he said. “A lot of things played a factor in that fight. ... I’m way better than that. I have way more tools and skills to display than what I showed because out there, I beat him with stuff I’ve been doing for five years.
“It’s me versus me out there. So, there’s a potential of that fight happening again if he works himself there, but I want to do it again because I want to put an exclamation on it. I want to finish him. I want to impress myself.”
Usman will first have to get through his upcoming challenge in the form of ex-teammate Gilbert Burns. The two will headline UFC 258 on Feb. 13 at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas.