Immediately after UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal was over on Saturday, retired boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s name began trending on social media, at least amidst the MMA community on Twitter.
No, it wasn’t because people were talking about a potential crossover megafight boxing match between Mayweather and UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman.
Rather, it was because what Usman does inside the cage reminded some people of Mayweather’s work inside a boxing ring.
In short, these people think Usman’s style is boring.
My first mma fight I paid to watch Usman stomp toes..@danawhite this was way worse than a mayweather fight I’m good on the men toe tappin
— 3ofum (@Lamar_goat_lbj) July 12, 2020
How Usman and Mayweather Are Similar
Usman and Mayweather are similar, though it has nothing to do with how boring or exciting they might be.
Rather, both Usman and Mayweather know how to order themselves toward their highest goods on any particular fight night.
What that means for Usman is that he’s always looking for ways to employ his best assets.
— UFC (@ufc) July 12, 2020
Mayweather did something very similar, especially as the boxer moved up in weight over the years.
At 147 and beyond, Mayweather often didn’t risk gunning for knockouts simply because it would have been foolish for him to needlessly add more risk to the equation.
And Usman? It boils down to this: He’s such a strong wrestler that he’s almost always best served by employing that skill set in a fight.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you don’t like watching that kind of thing, you’re probably not going to be a huge fan of Usman.
Mayweather experienced that same thing during his boxing career. The fighter had such great footwork and defense to go along with clean and effective counterpunching that some people just couldn’t get behind him.
Yeah, I agree💯 https://t.co/4DngAwvF8G
— Leonard Ellerbe (@LEllerbe) July 12, 2020
How Usman and Mayweather Are Different
Usman isn’t near Mayweather’s level just yet.
Sure, the fighter could be on his way.
In beating Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251, Usman tied three other fighters for the all-time longest win streak in UFC history at 12 per UFC Record Book.
Anderson Silva holds the overall mark at 16.
So even by that one statistic, Usman isn’t quite the UFC’s version of Mayweather just yet, who retired 50-0 from his sport back in 2017.
So those kinds of comparisons to Mayweather amongst UFC fighters should probably be reserved only for Jon Jones at this point.
The UFC light heavyweight champion is arguably the only fighter on the roster right now with the requisite resume, ability and skill level that currently compares to one of boxing’s very best all-time fighters in Mayweather.
Usman Deserves High Praise for Epic Run
But Usman deserves high praise for his epic run.
“The Nigerian Nightmare” has been exactly that for opponents across all promotions.
Usman won his 16th straight MMA fight on Saturday night.
More impressively, Usman defeated last year’s consensus Fighter of the Year quite handily in what might have been the biggest fight of his life.
Oh, and he did that on just six days’ notice.
Usman is one of the most dominant and remarkable fighters in the sport right now even if he’s not quite ready to be included among the all-time greats.
Can Usman Repeat Mayweather’s Feat?
At the end of the night, though, the comparisons made about Usman to Mayweather did indicate something about the fighter’s possible future, even if the people making that comparison on social media weren’t quite seeing the totality of the truth about the matter.
Like Mayweather was in his sport, Usman is a dominant champ who keeps racking up big wins.
Lost in the storyline about Mayweather becoming the best-selling pay-per-view fighter in boxing history though is the fact that he only started moving all those pay-per-view units once people began to realize he was virtually unbeatable.
Usman might be the same inside the UFC’s Octagon, and it could someday lead him to the same kind of success.
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