This Saturday a marquee welterweight match-up will take place as Kamaru Usman faces Sergio Moraes in Pittsburgh. Usman has looked nothing short of dominant in all five of his wins in the octagon as he looks to do more of the same when he takes on the Brazilian Moraes.
Now training at the Combat Club with Henri Hooft and former champions Robbie Lawler, Luke Rockhold and Rashad Evans, Usman feels he has all the tools to become champion.
“I have the gas tank, I have the wrestling, I have the jiu-jitsu, I have the striking, it doesn’t matter, I dominate each and every aspect of the game and each and every one of my fights I make them look easier and easier and that’s what I’m going to do on Saturday. I’m going to put on another flawless performance as I always do.”
He will take on Sergio Moraes who has very quietly racked up an impressive 6-1-1 record in the UFC with wins over Neil Magny and Omari Akhmedov. In fact, this match up as a whole has flown under the radar and Usman feels that’s due to a lack of promotion.
“When you don’t give a guy the chance to promote or put themselves out there, you can’t wonder why a lot of people don’t know about them,” Usman said. “He’s a guy that hasn’t really gotten much attention. One it’s his fighting style, he doesn’t really speak English, he doesn’t really talk to where it’s entertaining for fans but at the end of the day he’s still a tough guy.”
“With myself, if you’re not going to put me up in these marquee match ups or the marquee cards or give me those main event slots that I deserve then why would you be surprised if a ton of people don’t know about the fight? It goes hand in hand, the UFC has to work with us better but yeah this is a fight that I believe is under the radar.”
A win could very well push Usman to the upper echelon of the division and while he knows not to underestimate his opponent, he’s confident that he’ll be able to control the fight wherever it goes.
“I think he’s a tough guy,” Usman said. “He’s very skilled on the ground, he’s a 2 or 3 time world champion in jiu-jitsu but it doesn’t matter who they put in front of me really. I’m probably the only guy in the division that is as well rounded as I am. I’m going to do what I do best and that’s beat him up until he decides to quit or give up.”
Usman stormed into the UFC scene by winning the 21st installment of The Ultimate Fighter. He ran through all competition on the show and took out Hayder Hassan in the finale with ease. He then went on to dominate 4 other opponents, most recently Sean Strickland back in April. With already a 5-0 record in a stacked welterweight division, Usman feels he deserved a bigger name or a top ranked guy.
“I’ve been vocal about who I want and when I wanted them and where I wanted them but they seem to give me who they want to give me so at the end of the day, all I could do is sit back and do my job and that’s what I intend to do on Saturday.”
“I’ve beat up a guy in his backyard very bad and I called out Demian Maia and didn’t get the fight. I beat up another guy, called out Neil Magny and didn’t get the fight. The UFC is going to give me who they want to give me and so the best thing I can do is continue to go out there and win and win in impressive fashion.”
A guy who has managed to land the big fights and get a fight with Demian Maia is Colby Covington, who has let the whole welterweight division know how he feels towards them. The modern day trash talking approach seemed to work for Covington who has jumped to the 8th spot in the rankings and will take on former 2 time title challenger Maia in October.
Usman, who approaches things a little less bluntly acknowledges Covington’s ways but is more than happy to stick to his own.
“The one thing about me is I’m a very classy guy, I’m straight to the point but I’m not fake,” Usman said. He’s a guy that likes to be brash and just say outlandish stuff but at the end of the day fans and we all know this is an act.”
“This isn’t really him because I think he’s a super nice guy. I actually ran into him at the airport, I went up to him and he was just a super nice guy there, very nice. Now he’s just putting this front in front of everybody and that’s just the society that we live in. He’s not doing anything impressive, his fights are boring as hell but he’s being brash and saying outlandish crap that people want to hear. He’s getting a fight now against a guy that I called out over a year ago.”
Both guys share a common opponent, Warlley Alves who Usman dominated for 3 rounds. Covington however, suffered a first round submission loss to Alves but was able to bounce back with 4 straight wins over the likes of Bryan Barberena and Dong Hyun Kim. Currently, Covington sits at number 8 in the rankings while Usman is at number 13.
“Colby Covington comes into the rankings, he wins a fight then you put him above me? How is that possible when I beat a guy that finished Colby Covington in 2 minutes. Those rankings make absolutely no sense to me.”
Usman would rather show than tell as he will look to put on another dominant performance and stake his claim in the division. While rankings don’t always make sense, it would be hard to deny him a fight against the top 10 should he beat Moraes this Saturday.
“I don’t care about these rankings because the rankings are trash. Those guys in the top 5, you put me up against any of them and I’ll make it look easy. That’s what I’ve done in my career and unfortunately they just don’t want to take the fight or I guess the UFC don’t want to give me the fight.”
“I believe I should be in the top 5 right now, I’ve called out those guys in the top 5 but they don’t seem to want to take the fight because I believe I’m the hardest guy in the division to deal with.”