Usman took the fight to Woodley, controlling the distance and pace of the fight. He was able to get in close behind his punches and punish Woodley in the clinch position. He out-wrestled Woodley on the ground. He stifled Woodley offense with the threat of the takedown while standing and out-worked Woodley from bell to bell.
The 31-year old brutalized Woodley’s body with punches and knees while Woodley was unable to offer up anything in return. In the second round, Usman landed an elbow on the break that got Woodley’s attention. Seconds later he slammed the champion to the canvas.
At the end of the fourth frame, Woodley was slow returning to his corner. The fifth round went like the others. Usman applied constant pressure and won in every position. The judges scorecards reflected how dominating of a performance Usman put in. The scorecards read 50-44, 50-44, and 50-45.
“I might not be the best striker in the world. I might not be the best pure wrestler in the world, but when it comes to mixing this s–t up I’m the f—ing best welterweight on the planet right now,” said Usman after the one-sided win.
Despite the back-and-forth banter between the two leading up to the event, Usman gave Woodley respect after the win.
“This is a champion that has come in here and dominated and a lot of people hate him. In this game we’ve got all these fickle fans that one day they love you and the next day they hate you,” said Usman. “A lot of people hate on that man, but when you talk about the greatest welterweights of all time that man has got to be in the conversation.”
Woodley made no excuses after the defeat. He asked for a rematch and said the fight was like a nightmare.
“Kamaru came out, he brought it. Sometimes you have those fights and you feel like it’s a bad dream. You want to throw punches but they won’t leave your face. You see opportunities but you don’t take them. He came out prepared. He had a great game of taking shots, punches to takedowns, great control. He was really heavy on top. Hats off to him. I have no excuses,” said Woodley after the loss.
UFC president Dana White put the belt around Usman’s waist in the center of the Octagon as Usman held his daughter. She is the Nigerian’s motivation.
“I come from humble beginnings, all the way from Nigeria. I never dreamed that I would have a platform like this, to be on this stage one day. When this little girl came along, she lit a fire under me,” said the newly crowned champion. “Daddy did it.”