Kamaru Usman is on one of the greatest runs right now in MMA, and just dominated one of the sport’s best fighters, but that hasn’t stopped some people from criticizing him for not finishing fights. Well, recently Usman’s coach, the renowned Henri Hooft, had an interesting response for the champ’s critics.
Usman, as you surely know, took the welterweight title from Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 this past weekend, by earning a dominant, decision win over him with scores of 50-45, 50-44, and 50-44. The victory was Usman’s 10th straight in the UFC.
Well, although Usman has done nothing but win in the Octagon, the Nigerian born fighter has taken some flack for not finishing fights. For example, Ben Askren and Colby Covington have argued Usman’s a boring fighter, and prior to UFC 235, Woodley also questioned the finishing ability of Usman. Of the new champ’s 10 UFC wins, Usman’s only recorded finishes in two of them.
Hooft was a guest on the latest “MMA Hour”, and while discussing this critical narrative about Usman, he had this to say (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“There’s always something,“ Hooft said. “Whatever you do, there’s always something that people think you’re not doing correct. The same kind of thing has been said before about Khabib (Nurmagomedov), who’s dominant. That’s the same stuff. No, I think it’s not a big thing. First of all, you sign for a 15-minute fight, you train for a 15-minute fight, so that’s what you do. And if a knockout or a decision or a submission or a TKO comes, it comes. Everybody wants to win fights before the final bell, but maybe the opponent is good or maybe you can’t stop some guys. And again, there’s always something that people can pick up and say.
“So, you know what, at the end of the day, he did what he had to do against a very dominant champion, Tyron Woodley, with a good camp, good people around [Woodley], and he dominated. So if people don’t like it or people say he has to finish more fights, then step up and do it yourself, right?”
There you go. Now, is it true that most fans prefer to watch fighters who finish fights with highlight reel knockouts and submissions? Yes. And could Usman struggle to produce big pay-per-view numbers if he continues to win bouts via decision? Maybe. Although, Georges St-Pierre was one of the biggest draws in the game, and he also was criticized for not finishing fights. As Hooft noted, Nurmagomedov has also taken heat for his grinding, yet, thoroughly dominant approach.