Over the course of the 12-fight card, we witnessed a handful of truly impressive performances. One of the most applause-worthy of the bunch was Kamaru Usman’s three-round domination of the highly regarded Warlley Alves. Relying not just on his incredible grappling skill, but also on a vastly-improved standup game, Usman dominated his Brazilian foe from bell-to-bell, earning himself a sound, unanimous decision win as a result.
These days, fighters are often criticized for their reluctance to take advantage of the opportunity to issue callouts in the wake of big wins. This was not a problem for Usman. After a brief discussion of his performance with Octagon-side commentator Jon Anik, Usman attempted to earn himself a big step up in competition with a callout of the welterweight division’s third-ranked fighter, grappling wizard Demian Maia. Not only did he assure he could defeat Maia, he also promised that he’d stop him in the first round.
While Usman issued this callout, Maia could be seen sitting in the crowd looking entirely unfazed. His tepid reaction to Usman’s callout can probably be attributed to the fact that this fight almost certainly won’t be made. As talented as Usman is, after all, he hasn’t even earned a spot in the welterweight top-15. So, calling out a fighter in the top-5, who has all but earned a welterweight title shot with a fantastic, six-fight win-streakis undeniably a bit premature.
Though Usman received little reaction from Maia as he made his callout, Maia later took to Twitter to address the up-and-comer.
“CONGRATS TO USMAN FOR A GOOD PERFORMANCE, YOU HAVE A PROMISING CAREER AHEAD,” THE TOP WELTERWEIGHT SAID. “[I] LOOK FORWARD TO SEE YOU FIGHT MORE AND BECOME A TOP-10.”
At a glance, this statement from Maia appears to be a nice pat on the back for Usman. Upon closer examination, however, Maia is clearly telling Usman “not yet.” We know, after all, that the Brazilian has his eyes on a title fight, or a potential showdown with Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Robbie Lawler, or Anderson Silva.
Would you be interested in a fight between Demian Maia and Kamaru Usman, or is Usman getting a little ahead of himself? Sound off, PENN Nation!