Former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman finds himself at a pivotal juncture following his third consecutive loss in the Octagon.
Usman’s impromptu decision to face Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 294 did not yield the desired outcome, resulting in a unanimous decision loss. The match marked Usman’s debut at middleweight, a move that could have potentially secured him a shot at the coveted 185lb title with a victory.
With Paulo Costa’s withdrawal from the UFC 294 co-main event, Usman courageously stepped in on short notice. He aimed to rebound from consecutive losses to Leon Edwards, particularly the recent defeat in their UFC 286 rematch.
Usman’s losing streak began with a head-kick knockout by Edwards at UFC 278 last year. He was mere moments away from retaining his UFC welterweight championship and solidifying his status as arguably the greatest welterweight in history.
In the wake of his three-bout losing streak, Usman is in pursuit of internal revelations. He candidly discussed the psychological obstacles he has grappled with in an interview with ESPN’s Megan Olivi.
“You drop two razor-thin ones to Leon [Edwards]. You go years without losing, and you drop two close ones like that, you start to kinda question things and start to doubt yourself a little bit. You almost forget what it feels like. If there’s anything I can take away from tonight, I need to trust myself more and trust my coaches…”
“Fighting a young, hungry bull like that…I didn’t trust my shape. I’m a championship fighter and you can’t start slow like that. Give me a couple extra rounds, I think the world knows what that result might be.”
Usman acknowledges that he may have rushed his return to the Octagon after the head-kick knockout loss to Edwards at UFC 286. Prior to this setback, he enjoyed an undefeated run in his UFC career. This includes notable title defenses against Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal.
Despite recent setbacks, Usman remains a formidable force in the pound-for-pound rankings. His next appearance in the UFC could serve as his potential resurgence to championship glory.