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After a five-round battle at UFC 268, Kamaru Usman remains your UFC welterweight champion, as well as the promotion's No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter.
Challenger Colby Covington made it interesting in the final three rounds — every judge thought he won at least one of rounds 3, 4 and 5 — but the decision was unanimous and, for the most part, uncontroversial. Even Covington, who contested the stoppage in his last fight after Usman literally broke his face, conceded it was Usman's night with a surprising amount of grace.
Plenty were happy to see the 20-1 Usman stay on top, from fellow champs to MMA fans to the Nigerian national basketball team:
#AndStill! Great fight men! Much respect to both of you
— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) November 7, 2021
— Aleksandar Rakic (@rakic_ufc) November 7, 2021
AND STILL!!! All class for the GOAT @USMAN84kg pound for pound best in my opinion. Love seeing a classy champion. 🇺🇸 Greatest night of fights in a long, long time.
— chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) November 7, 2021
Kamaru Usman did it again.
— Andreas Hale (@AndreasHale) November 7, 2021
— PRIME Alexander (@CedricAlexander) November 7, 2021
Trash talk doesn't often age well in the octagon. #Usman takes the high road, after bloodying the face of trumpy foe
— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) November 7, 2021
— D’Tigers | Nigeria Basketball (@NigeriaBasket) November 7, 2021
Of course, Usman staying on his perch leaves us with an awkward question: Is there anyone left in the welterweight division who can beat him?
Basically since the night Usman took the belt, Covington seemed to be the welterweight with the best chance of knocking him off. Usman has now beaten him twice. He's beaten Jorge Masvidal, arguably the biggest name among challengers, twice as well. He TKO'd Gilbert Burns, the No. 2-ranked challenger.
There are still fighters in the division with arguments to get a title shot, such as No. 3 contender Leon Edwards should he beat Masvidal next month or even recent sensation Khamzat Chimaev, but plenty are beginning to wonder if there's a real challenge left.
What does it take to beat Kamaru Usman right now??
One of the best to do it and can't see anyone beating him anytime soon #UFC268
— Megan Anderson (@MeganA_mma) November 7, 2021
I just don't know what Usman does next. Chimaev has a few guys to fight before he gets that shot. He'll never go up and fight Israel Adesanya. They're friends. Khabib seems like he's really retired. So what's next for Usman?
— Myron Medcalf (@MedcalfByESPN) November 7, 2021
Usman has cleared out the whole division. What more need be said? GSP is 40 so it's probably better these eras stay separated.
One of the most dominant fighters MMA has seen.
— Thorin (@Thorin) November 7, 2021
Absolutely unsure what's next for Kamaru Usman. Possibly Leon Edwards if Edwards gets by Jorge Masvidal in December, but there ain't much. Usman's just the tippy top of the food chain.
— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) November 7, 2021
I don’t think there’s anyone out there at 170 that’s going to beat Kamaru Usman.
— Ryan Fedrau (@the_fed_23) November 7, 2021
There's also the debate of where Usman ranks all-time among welterweights. UFC legend Georges St-Pierre's shadow looms large, but Usman has now notched his fifth title defense — moving him halfway to St-Pierre's record nine — and holds a perfect 14-0 record as a UFC fighter.
If his reign continues for a few more fights, that conversation is only going to get louder.
Usman just passed GSP 🤷🏿♂️
— Sodiq Yusuff (@Super_Sodiq) November 7, 2021
Usman is on the verge of surpassing Khabib then could be knocking on GSP’s door next. #UFC268
— Joe Osborne (@JTFOz) November 7, 2021