After such an impressive performance against his former teammate Gilbert Burns, Kamaru Usman had called out Jorge Masvidal. This got me thinking, what could possibly be done for a champion like Usman who has dominated everyone else in his path on the way to a title? There are not many guys left within the division who he has not beaten, but we will explore his options below.
The reasoning behind fighting Masvidal is easy. He will generate more money for pay-per-view viewers because he is an interesting draw and a fan favorite. He obviously fought him prior to the Burns fight, but this was on six days notice so many fans threw it out of the window and believe a rematch with a full camp will turn out differently. I disagree wholeheartedly. Usman dominated Masvidal for five straight rounds and was not in trouble for one second. This can be attributed to Masvidal’s conditioning issues because he had to cut so much weight within less than a week.
Another reason for this fight that makes sense is because Usman has already agreed to doing The Ultimate Fighter for this next fight. This show will generate many viewers and more attention to the Masvidal fight, which will also allow Usman to show more of his personality throughout the duration of the show.
Usman would be rematching another guy in which he dominated earlier in his career. Leon Edwards, however, has not lost since that fight, so he is a great candidate. He is now scheduled to fight Belal Muhammad on March 13 after his original opponent Khamzat Chimaev pulled out due to lingering issues with COVID.
He stated he was promised a title shot with a win, due to him being denied as of late. However, this is a new opponent who does not have the push behind him that Chimaev had, so it is not a guarantee he will get that shot. I believe this would be a nice rematch for Usman, and I believe he will dominate him in similar fashion.
Last but not least, I believe the last option for Usman would be a rematch against Colby. This was his hardest fight in the UFC by far, and he finished the fight in the final round. Covington had his jaw broken, and was out of competition for a while.
He has since finished Tyron Woodley and has been adamantly calling out his former teammate Masvidal. It doesn’t look like that fight will be happening, because he has not said anything publicly on it except for he does not want to give Covington the platform on The Ultimate Fighter. Dana White alluded to the fact that he would want a title fight to be on the show, but was not opposed to this one either.
I believe Usman would fight Covington, however, he wants him to stay active and win some more before the rematch is booked. This would be his toughest fight out of the three, and is one I think that he would win again.
This leaves us with the question still, what is next for the champ?