Kamaru Usman has come a long way enough on the road to greatness to realise that not everything looks virtuous from the top of the mountain, definitely, there are setbacks to the way of making history one chooses to take. Usman has been on the top of the pound-for-pound list for over a year now. He is the reigning defending UFC welterweight champion with 5 title defences so far in his illustrious career. Usman also has the second longest winning streak in UFC history at the count of 15.
Usman is now scheduled for this weekend to fight his former opponent, #2 ranked UFC welterweight Leon Edwards in the rematch. The first fight took place in 2015 when both were promising prospects and Usman defeated Edwards via decision after 3 rounds. Edwards is on a 10-fight winning streak which is the second longest active winning streak in the UFC welterweight history. Usman is known for his wins over the likes of Edwards, Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal, Rafael Dos Anjos, Gilbert Burns, Jorge Masvidal and many more.
Kamaru Usman remembers how Chicago Bulls’ The Last Dance made him understand his mentality
In an exclusive interview for ESPN MMA with Brett Okamoto, Usman talks about his thoughts on the Leon Edwards rematch at UFC 278, the rise of Khamzat Chimaev, the reason for challenging the 205 lbs title in near future, his list of greatest fighters of all time and much more. In the midst of all, Usman remembers the time he saw the famous basketball documentary The Last Dance around the time of his fight against Gilbert Burns at UFC 258.
The Last Dance is a famous documentary made about the famous basketball team of the Chicago Bulls in the 90s that turned out to be the second home of arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan. Through the watching of the documentary, Usman explains what he learnt about himself as someone like Jordan who’s dominating at the top of his game.
“It was right around the time [of Burns fight] where The Last Dance came out,” says Usman “So you gotta chance to really understand who Michael Jordan was as a competitor and I’m thinking about some of these things and I am like- I too think like that. Because sometimes you think ‘Am I wrong for thinking like this? Is it too much? What’s going on? Is it too psychotic? Am I too intertwined in this?’ and then I am like- Wow! He was like that. Kobe Bryant, wow, he was like that…
You have to obsess about these things in order to be the best because we strive for perfection and even when we don’t achieve that, we still attain excellence and so I was like- you know what? I am okay here. It kinda helped me calm those nerves and deal with the kind of feelings I was going through,” continues Usman.
What do you make of Kamaru Usman’s comments about the documentary and the reflection on his thoughts after understanding Jordan’s mentality? Do you think it’s often an abnormal route to chase greatness or is it just a mentality switch that doesn’t cost much? Where do you put Jordan among the greatest basketball players of all time?