Something to Prove in Chile

ufc-fn129Kamaru Usman has been one of the most avoided fighters in the UFC because of that weird mix between being too good but not ranked high enough.

As a result, fighters don’t want to fight him for the possibility that they could lose to an opponent ranked far lower than them.

It can ruin any momentum fighters have and take them out of the running when it comes to the title picture.

So, Usman has been forced to fight guys that are simply not as good and do little for his career in trying to get that title shot.

In every win, he continued to challenge the higher ranked fighters in order to see if he could get a shot at making a real impact.

At UFC Fight Night 129 he finally got his shot at a highly ranked opponent and stepped into a new level of the fight game.

That is what was facing Usman and what has faced so many great fighters before him with mixed results.

Although the UFC is home to the deepest pool of fighters in the sport and nobody on the roster is easy there is a clear division in every weight class.

There is talent throughout every weight class but at the top of the rankings in each division, it is something different.

Those fighters at the top that are consistently in the championship conversation are a level that only a few fighters can reach and remain at throughout any stretch of time.

Not all will stay but for the time being, they are clearly the best fighters in the world and to enter that level is something else.

Usman had proven to be a scary opponent for so many but he had never really been able to face a truly great fighter.

He had never been tested near the top of the rankings and although he had put together an impressive streak there were no big names.

That was until Demian Maia accepted a fight against Usman and it gave the rising star a chance to prove something.

As impressive as his time has been in the UFC fighting Maia and beating the veteran would have been a big step.

It is a step that so many fighters have to face if they want to get where they all want to get at some point in their careers.

For some, it doesn’t work out well for them as they realize very quickly that they can’t hang with the best of the best.

Despite the runs through the rest of the division, it is these fighters sitting at the top that show them how much work they need to do to truly be considered one of the best.

Usman was looking to be on the other side of that conversation as he wanted to show that he was more than worthy of all of the fights he had been demanding.

Maia was a challenge as the master of BJJ was going to bring something else to the fight that Usman had never seen.

Although Usman had a great background in wrestling and taking fights to the ground, Maia has always been on another

He is a former BJJ champion and holds the title as the best BJJ practitioner in the division and one of the best on the entire roster.

Getting to the ground with him might not have been the smartest thing to do as his knowledge of the ground game could end things quickly.

Usman had never faced someone like this before but a win would show that he was ready for the best of the best in the division.

It could also have meant putting his name into the conversation for a true contender in the division.

The fight turned out to be a showcase for Usman as he came out and achieved his goal of proving he belongs among the top of the division.

In the fight, the danger was always going to surround Maia’s ability to take the fight to the ground and use his BJJ to overwhelm Usman.

That never happened as Usman was simply too good at stuffing the takedowns of Maia and that shut everything down.

Without that ability to take the fight to the ground Maia had little else and Usman was able to win the stand-up game.

It was proof that Usman belonged as he beat the biggest name he has faced and did it in convincing fashion.

There is still a lot of progress to be made as Maia is a great fighter but a one-dimensional fighter.

There are others out there that have more skills and are more well-rounded that will need to be beaten to get to a title shot.

It should be slightly easier to get those fights though as Usman is now a contender that others will want to fight to boost their own careers, although he won’t make it easy.



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