Kamaru Usman entered Fight Island with the UFC welterweight champion. And after defeating Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251, he left with it as well. Viewers of the bout were critical of Usman’s chosen fight style for the matchup. Foot stomps, clinch work, and pressure against the cage is useful in winning a fight. However, MMA fans that pay for PPVs prefer a more exciting style of fighting to watch. In fact, UFC heavyweight title contender and commentator Daniel Cormier believes that if Usman fought Gilbert Burns like that, he may have let Abu Dhabi empty-handed.
UFC 251 On Fight Island
Jorge Masvidal stepped in on six days’ notice to challenge Usman for the welterweight title in the UFC 251 headliner. Fans were excited that the Fight Island title shot remained intact. However, Jorge was conclusively controlled by Usman for the duration of the fight. Usman used his elite wrestling and clinch work to grind out a monotonous win.
Daniel Cormier Speaks on Usman vs Masvidal
Daniel Cormier spoke about the matchup on his ESPN MMA show with Ariel Helwani. During the conversation, he stated his opinion that Gilbert Burns would have beat the version of Usman who fought Masvidal. His reasoning was simple; Burns is just too good.
Can I say something that (Kamaru) Usman’s probably not gonna like too much? If you’re Masvidal, you go fight “Rocky” (Leon Edwards) when Usman fights Gilbert Burns because if Usman fought Gilbert Burns (that way) I don’t think he would’ve won,” said DC. “Really don’t think he would’ve beat Gilbert Burns with the performance that he had last weekend. I think Gilbert Burns is too good and he provides too many problems on that night.”
“If he (Usman) fought Gilbert Burns like he did against Covington where he was mixing it up, he might have won that fight,” Cormier continued when discussing whether or not Kamaru Usman would’ve beaten Burns. “But I’m saying like, the fight that he fought Saturday wasn’t gonna beat, or at least I don’t feel would’ve beaten Gilbert Burns.”
Burns is currently known as one of the most versatile fighters on the entire UFC roster. With elite striking partnered with decorated grappling, it’s no shock that Gilbert is the current #1 contender. However, Usman is the champion for a reason. And, his grapple heavy fighting style has been too much for all of his UFC adversaries.
Do fans believe Burns would have beaten Usman at UFC 251? Or is Cormier not giving enough credit to Kamaru Usman’s performance?