Kamaru Usman has reacted following his majority decision loss to Khamzat Chimaev in UFC 294 co-main event.
Kamaru Usman (20-4 MMA) stepped on short notice to battle Khamzat Chimaev (13-0 MMA) in a middleweight contest this afternoon in Abu Dhabi.
‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ was returning to action for the first time since losing a majority decision to Leon Edwards in a fight for the promotion’s welterweight world title at UFC 286. That setback had marked Usman’s second in a row, as he was previously knocked out by ‘Rocky’ with a head kick at UFC 278.
Meanwhile, Khamzat Chimaev (13-0 MMA) was fighting for the first time since running through Kevin Holland thirteen months ago at UFC 279. ‘Borz’ had gone 6-0 inside of the Octagon ahead of today’s matchup, with five of those six wins coming by way of stoppage.
UFC 294 co-main event resulted in a closely contested battle. Khamzat Chimaev had a dominant opening round, but Kamaru Usman was able to come back strong in round two thanks to a good volume of good punches and kicks. In round three, Usman again got off to a hot start, but it was a takedown from ‘Borz’ with two minutes remaining that seemingly won him the fight and likely earned him a shot at reigning middleweight champion Sean Strickland.
Official UFC 294 Result: Khamzat Chimaev def. Kamaru Usman by majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28)
Although it was a valiant effort from the former welterweight kingpin, Kamaru Usman was left thinking of what could have been, as he rejected the UFC’s offer to have the fight contested at five rounds.
“You know, you drop a… You drop two razor thin ones to Leon. And umm, it’s been a while. You know, you go years without losing. For a long long time, like all the hard work and then you drop two close ones like that, and you just start to question things. You start to doubt yourself and things like that.”
Kamaru Usman continued:
“If there’s anything that I can say that I take away from tonight, it’s that I need to trust myself more. Trust my coaches. And, we’ll be back. You know, I came coming off the couch in ten days and fighting a young hungry bull like that. He was big and strong and he’s had like a year and a half to grow into this weight class (middleweight), and I didn’t. And I think, umm, you know I didn’t trust my shape. I’m a championship fighter and you can’t start slow like that. If I had accepted a couple more rounds, I think the world knows what that result might be.”
Kamaru Usman went on to say that if Khamzat Chimaev does indeed get awarded the next title shot against Sean Strickland, he would be interested in fighting perennial middleweight contender Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 300.