UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman named his list of MMA GOATs, with one surprise exclusion.
In a new interview with ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto ahead of his UFC 278 title fight, Usman listed the fighters he considered the greatest in the history of MMA.
“In this sport, I think, this is based on different preferences. I think skill-wise and technique-wise, what these guys were able to show. Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, what these guys were able to bring. Georges St- Pierre, I would even say Dominick Cruz.”
Georges St-Pierre, Anderson Silva, and Jon Jones were dominant champions in their division, with St-Pierre winning the belt in the welterweight and middleweight divisions. Silva is a former UFC middleweight champion holding the record for the longest title reign in UFC history at 2,457 days, while Jones became the youngest UFC champion at the age of 23.
Usman included former bantamweight champion Cruz, who came off a brutal KO loss to Marlon Vera on Saturday. However, the two-time champion at the age of 37 is still going strong after battling through injuries, losing the UFC bantamweight title in 2016 and competing just four times since then.
‘The Nigerian Nightmare’, who is currently ranked at the top of the pound-for-pound rankings, left out former lightweight champion and Hall of Famer Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is considered by many fans to be the GOAT The Russian retired from the sport with an astounding 29-0 record, including dominant wins over Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.
Watch Kamaru Usman talk about his MMA GOAT list below:
Kamaru Usman compares himself to Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre in handling extreme pressure in UFC
Usman revealed in the same interview as before how the pressure builds up after every win at the top, while understanding how the former champions dealt with this issue constantly in their careers. He said:
“Each and every time you win, you should climb up that ladder. And the pressure gets bigger and bigger and bigger, because now you have more and more to lose each and every time. And now I’m in that position to where I feel that, I see what these guys had to deal with. Every time you win, people don’t necessarily care.”
Usman is now set to face Leon Edwards in the main event of UFC 278 this weekend in a rematch booked almost seven years since their first meeting. While the Nigerian has looked dominant in the welterweight division, Edwards is on a 10-fight unbeaten streak, including wins over Nate Diaz and Rafael dos Anjos.
The Brit’s last loss came incidentally against Usman in 2015, with the fight being won by the current champion via unanimous decision. This time around, Edwards will aim to avenge defeat, while staking claim for a maiden welterweight title against all odds.
Watch a clip of Kamaru Usman’s pre-fight preparations in the Instagram post below: