Saturday, August 13, 2022

Usman Dismisses Volkanovski As Threat To P4P Spot

UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman has dismissed those who claim that featherweight king Alexander Volkanovski has done enough to secure top spot in the pound-for-pound rankings.

Usman, who has held the 170-pound gold since 2019, secured his place at the top of the P4P mountain last September following four successful title defenses, with that place further cemented two months later with another victory and retention against Colby Covington.

But “The Nigerian Nightmare” perhaps now has his biggest challenger to that status than ever before in the form of Volkanovski. Like Usman, the Australian holds gold and is undefeated inside the Octagon.

After three defenses against Max Holloway, Brian Ortega, and Chan Sung Jung, Volkanovski put on his best display yet in his fourth, adding a third victory over “Blessed” to his record at UFC 276.

Following that result, which saw “The Great” secure a dominant unanimous decision victory over one of the greatest featherweights of all time, many, including former middleweight champion Michael Bisping, suggested that Volkanovski has done enough to pip Usman to the P4P post.

But while the welterweight titleholder acknowledges Volkanovski’s talents and form, he says not so fast when it comes to taking the P4P throne.

Usman: ‘The World Has To Realize I’m The P4P Best’

During a recent interview with ESPN MMA, Usman discussed his position atop the P4P mountain, which Brett Okamoto admitted he thought currently belonged to Volkanovski.

While “The Nigerian Nightmare” noted that the top contenders for the P4P crown should be “interchangeable,” which he branded as a three-man group featuring middleweight champ Israel Adesanya, Usman maintained that he still edges out the other names, including Volkanovski.

“Absolutely, I think these guys (Volkanovski and Adesanya) are phenomenal. When you’re looking at pound-for-pound, you’re looking at that list,” Usman said. “The top three guys should be that close, they should be interchangeable… That’s what it means to be the best. You’re looking at, what, all three of us have combined three losses, or four losses? These guys are spectacular.

“Alexander Volkanovski, he surprises me each and every time. I just see this little guy, I’m like, ‘This little guy can’t be that good,’ then he gets in fights and I’m like, ‘Holy crap, that guy is freakin’ good.’ … I think the world has to just realize that, right now, I am the pound-for-pound best fighter on the planet,” Usman continued. “This is not just overnight. This is years and years that I’ve been putting in work like this.”

Usman will look to further that claim when he returns to the Octagon for the first time since November 2021 at UFC 278 next month. In Salt Lake City, Utah, the champ is set to run it back with Leon Edwards.

Should he emerge victorious, Usman appears keen to shoot for further P4P acclaim by challenging for two-division glory through an unheard of jump up to light heavyweight. Should he accomplish that, it stands to reason that there’ll be no doubt about who the P4P best is.

Do you agree with Kamaru Usman? Is he still rightfully ahead of Alexander Volkanovski on the P4P ladder?

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