Kamaru Usman takes on Jorge Masvidal this Saturday in the main event of UFC 251 with a lot on the line.
As the first headline fight in the UFC’s four-event trip to Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, Usman and Masvidal will look to settle the score with months of bad blood in the bank.
Of course, the UFC welterweight title is on the line, too. This is only Usman’s second defence of the belt after dominating Tyron Woodley for it at UFC 235.
Masvidal is a UFC veteran with seven years experience and 48 MMA fights under his belt in total; that’s before we even get into his street fighting in his hometown of Miami.
However, for all the proverbial miles Masvidal has clocked up, he has never had a title opportunity.
Gamebred’s name only really exploded over the past 12 months after a stunning knockout of Darren Till in England, then the fastest knockout in UFC history against Ben Askren at five seconds before winning the ‘BMF’ belt against Nate Diaz at Madison Square Garden.
Usman, on the other hand, has been diligently working to get where he is right now and nobody can dispute he has deserved it.
After all, if the Nigerian Nightmare defeats Masvidal, he’ll tie Georges St-Pierre for the longest winning streak in UFC’s welterweight history.
Anderson Silva holds the overall win streak record at 16 during his amazing middleweight title reign, but Usman has won every fight since entering the UFC via The Ultimate Fighter back in 2015.
Interestingly, Leon Edwards is on an eight-fight win streak in the same division, but who was the last man he lost to? Usman.
And that just happened to be Usman’s first win on an official UFC card.
Being able to share a record with GSP – a man many consider the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time or, at the very least, in the discussion – would be huge for Usman.
While welterweight has plenty of other plausible challengers after Masvidal, it would do a lot for Usman’s legacy to be spoken about in the same breath as GSP.
The only difference is GSP successfully defended his title nine times during his 12-fight win streak, whereas this will be only Usman’s second defence.
That tells you something about the calibre of opponents on both men’s resumés when reaching such a milestone.