Former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is at a crossroads following his third straight loss in the Octagon.
Usman’s short-notice gamble against Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 294 didn’t pay off, as he lost by unanimous decision. The fight was Usman’s first at middleweight and could’ve potentially earned himself a 185lb title shot with a victory.
Usman stepped up on days’ notice after Paulo Costa’s withdrawal from the UFC 294 co-main event. He was looking to bounce back after back-to-back losses to Leon Edwards, including most recently in their UFC 286 rematch.
Usman’s losing skid began with a brutal head-kick knockout loss to Edwards at UFC 278 last year. He was about a minute away from remaining the UFC welterweight champion and cementing himself as arguably the greatest welterweight of all time.
But, Usman is now searching for answers from within amidst his three-fight losing streak, and opened up about some personal changes he feels he needs to make going forward.
Related: UFC 294 Results & Highlights: Islam Makhachev KO’s Alexander Volkanovski, Khamzat Chimaev Outpoints Kamaru Usman
Kamaru Usman After UFC 294: I Need To Trust Myself More
In a post-fight interview with ESPN’s Megan Olivi, Usman revealed some of the psychological hurdles he’s battled through his three-fight losing skid.
“You drop two razor-thin ones to Leon [Edwards],” Usman said. “You go years without losing, and you drop two close ones like that, you start to kinda question things and start to doubt yourself a little bit. You almost forget what it feels like. If there’s anything I can take away from tonight, I need to trust myself more and trust my coaches…
“Fighting a young, hungry bull like that…I didn’t trust my shape. I’m a championship fighter and you can’t start slow like that. Give me a couple extra rounds, I think the world knows what that result might be.”
Usman has admitted that he might’ve returned to the Octagon too quickly at UFC 286 following the head-kick knockout loss to Edwards. Before that, he was unbeaten in his UFC tenure, including recent title defenses against Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal.
Usman remains one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world when he’s at his best, although his next UFC appearance could be paramount to him possibly returning to the championship level.
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