Kamaru Usman has been one of the most dominant champions in recent memory, regardless of weight class. He has effectively cleaned out the divisions top 5 with victories over the who’s who at welterweight, and two wins over Jorge Masvidal.
Anytime a champion has a reign of dominance as we have seen with Usman, the question is asked — who is left? For fighters like Khabib, there were simply no more challenges. For Kamaru Usman, there is still one man that he has yet to defeat, and he fights this Saturday at UFC 264.
Although Stephen Thompson is not in the top five, he poses a risk that none of Usman’s previous opponents have. Usman has fought wrestlers, strikers, but no fighters like Thompson. Usman’s toughest fight to-date was against Colby Covington, which was a stand-up war due to the wrestling abilities of both men being negated. It was on the feet that Colby gave the champion his hardest test. Keeping this in mind, Thompson is a karate expert with 44% of his wins coming by way of knockout. When you accompany this with his 78% takedown defense, he certainly has the tools to contend.
“Wonderboy” has been working for this opportunity since 2017, when he narrowly lost to Tyrone Woodley, who Usman ironically beat for the championship. He will fight at UFC 264 against former title contender Gilbert Burns, and you have to think a convincing win puts Thompson in line for that much deserved title shot.