Fresh from a one-sided welterweight title defence against Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal at UFC 251 last weekend, reigning champion, Kamaru ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ Usman has called for a matchup with recent Hall of Fame inductee, Georges ‘Rush’ St-Pierre.
Usman, who met with Masvidal on short-notice on Yas Island last Saturday night, managed to take a dominant unanimous judging, utilizing clinch work and offensive wrestling to notch the second successful defence of his welterweight championship. The Trevor Wittman trainee was originally scheduled to meet with streaking challenger, Gilbert ‘Durinho’ Burns at the Fight Island event, until the latter provided a positive COVID-19 test result – subsequently shelving the tie.
Speaking with TMZ Sports – Usman spoke of a potential pairing with former middleweight and welterweight titleholder, St-Pierre, who last featured at UFC 217 in November of 2017 in a rear-naked choke win over Michael Bisping.
“Honestly, I would have to say Georges St-Pierre,” Usman explained. “Right now we’re tied for the record-most consecutive wins in the welterweight division – and Georges is a tough guy, Georges is a legend. Georges is a guy who has put his time in and is considered one of the best and that’s where I aim to be. Georges can still do it. He proved it, what, two years ago when he came back, that he can still do it. And I feel that he’s still able to do it. He’s still able to come in and be that opponent where people are unsure. Like, ‘You know what? We don’t know if Usman’s got this one.“
“I think Georges St-Pierre can be that guy and that’s what I’m looking for,” Usman told. “Those are what champions are made of. When you get that feeling, ‘I’m not sure. This one’s a tough one. I don’t know how this one is gonna go but I’m gonna damn well go out there and compete and see what happens.’ I think Georges St-Pierre can be that guy and if Georges wants to do it, Georges can get it too.“
Following his submission snapping hiatus win over Bisping, St-Pierre would be forced to vacate the middleweight championship, citing colitis as the reason why – ahead of a tentatively planned matchup with Robert ‘The Reaper’ Whittaker. The 2017 return marked the Canadian’s first outing since a close split decision win over Johny Hendricks in November 2013, where he lodged his ninth successful title defence.
“Georges knows what he’s done with his legacy,” Usman said. “He’s cemented his legacy. He’s put in the time, he’s put in the work, and that’s why he sits at the top as one of the best ever. So I’d love to test myself. I’m a martial artist just like he was a martial artist and if he still has some fire burning in that oven, let’s test it out. Let’s go out and see if he can still do it.“
While St-Pierre remains retired, Usman has not switched his attention entirely from the aforementioned, Burns and explained how he’s ready for that fight, as well as a potential rematch meeting with perennial 170-pound contender, Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards.
“If it is, it is,” Usman explained. “I don’t discriminate when it comes to an opponent. That’s one thing that the company – you can quote me on that. I don’t say, ‘No’ to anybody. If the company feels like that’s the next guy or if it’s GSP or if it’s Leon Edwards, then that’s the next guy. My job as the undisputed champion is to stay champion. So whoever they put in front of me, their dreams of being champion quickly turn into nightmares.“
Usman, 33, claimed the welterweight crown in March of last year – taking a unanimous shutout opposite Tyron Woodley at UFC 235. In his first attempted title defence, Usman battled arch-rival, former interim titleholder, Colby Covington, where he scored a late fifth-frame knockout stoppage win. Last weekend’s victory over Masvidal improved Usman’s professional record to 17-1 – as well as shooting him up the official UFC P4P rankings to slot #5.