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Kamaru Usman Names Fighter Who Scared Him

Former UFC welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, revealed that Jorge Masvidal was the fighter who rattled him the most before entering the Octagon.

Despite being one of the most feared fighters in the welterweight division, Usman admitted to feeling afraid during his title run. 

The fighter who instilled the most fear in “The Nigerian Nightmare” was Masvidal, who had significant hype going into their first title fight in 2020.

Masvidal earned the 2019 ‘Fighter of the Year’ title with victories over Darren Till, Ben Askren, and Nate Diaz, becoming the UFC’s first-ever BMF Champion with a doctor’s stoppage TKO. 

His record-breaking 5-second flying knee KO of the undefeated Askren stood out as one of the most violent knockouts, leaving Askren unconscious for nearly three minutes.

“I say one of the most violent (knockouts) because of, he was out for almost like two, three minutes,” Usman said of Masvidal’s KO on ‘Pound 4 Pound’.

“He was out. I remember I was there. I remember watching like, ‘He’s still stiff. Not only is he out, but he’s still stiff.’ Then, all that happens, that was 2019 and then I think maybe a year later you and I fight…”

Usman and Masvidal first clashed at UFC 251 under “the craziest circumstances” after title challenger Gilbert Burns withdrew due to COVID-19. 

Masvidal replaced him on six days’ notice, flying across the world to fight Usman on the UFC’s ‘Fight Island’ in Abu Dhabi.

Although it was Usman’s third UFC title fight, the champion felt uneasy heading into this unexpected and risky title defense against Masvidal. 

The Askren knockout played continuously on every channel and social media platform, adding to Usman’s nerves.

“Of course, we get nervous for every fight, but one of the first times it got to me, everything around me got to me because, bro, they’re playing your viral knockout, one of the most viral knockouts ever,” Usman said of the Askren knockout.

“(Masvidal) f***ing gets to me,” Usman continued. “I’m like, ‘Oh s**t, is he gonna baptize me? What the f**k is it? I’m in a hotel and I’m super nervous for this, especially that – that moment before you go to the arena for the fight, and I’m in my room just like, ‘Why the f**k am I so nervous right now? Get it together…’ I would say that was probably one of the most nerve-wracking fights that I had.”

Usman overcame his fears to win a dominant unanimous decision over Masvidal at UFC 251. After going the distance with “Gamebred” in 2020, the welterweights met again in a rematch a year later.

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