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It took a few years to get there, but Kamaru
Usman
is receiving his due recognition from Dana White.

The UFC president praised Usman following the welterweight
champion’s latest triumph, a second-round knockout of Jorge
Masvidal
in the UFC 261 main event at Vystar Veteran’s Memorial
Arena in Jacksonville, Florida on Saturday night. It was Usman’s
14th consecutive win within the Las Vegas-based promotion, a streak
that puts him ahead of such stars as Georges St.
Pierre
, Jon Jones,
Khabib
Nurmagomedov
and Demetrious
Johnson
. Only former middleweight king Anderson
Silva
(16) has a longer winning streak in UFC history.

“No matter how you feel, the guy is getting booed in there tonight,
(but) he’s one of the best ever,” White said at Saturday’s
post-fight press conference. “He’s on his way to probably being the
greatest of all time. I mean, the guy is an absolute stud. He looks
better every time he comes out.”

That praise is a far cry from White’s reaction to Usman three years
ago, when “The Nigerian Nightmare” was only halfway into his
current winning streak. His seventh consecutive victory came via
unanimous decision against Emil Meek at
UFC Fight Night 124, and he
drew the ire of White
when in his post-fight interview he
claimed that fought “sitting at about 30 percent.” In Usman’s
defense, he was referring to his level of health, not effort, but
the comments were misconstrued long before he could clarify.

Also not helping Usman’s reputation was his penchant for going the
distance. In his first nine UFC appearances, Usman won via decision
on eight occasions – including his coronation against Tyron
Woodley
at UFC 235. Since becoming champion, Usman has won
three of his four title defenses by knockout or technical
knockout.

“These people talk about him being boring,” White said. “You’re an
idiot. You’re an idiot if you think this guy is boring. He hasn’t
been in a boring fight in a while. He changed after he gave that
whole, ‘I only gave 30 percent tonight thing.’ He’s been a
different human being ever since the (Rafael dos
Anjos
) fight.”

White reiterated that a rematch with Colby
Covington
is likely next for Usman. Their first meeting took
place at UFC 245 in December 2019, with Usman winning via
fifth-round technical knockout. According to White, winning
rematches against the likes of Masvidal and Covington will only
serve to further secure Usman’s legacy.

“It’s the fight to make. He’s the No. 1 guy in the world,” White
said. “For him, to really cement your legacy, when you win and you
beat the guys who are looked at as the best in the world at that
time and you beat them twice and you beat them convincingly, it’s
all just part of cementing that legacy that this guy is gonna end
up having some day.”


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