Comparing Kings: Kamaru Usman vs Matt Hughes

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In this Comparing Kings piece, MMA welterweight greats Kamaru Usman vs Matt Hughes. We want to do an apples-to-apples comparison of the two greats, champion vs champion, just the facts. These two both have incredible welterweight title legacies. In Comparing Kings, we try to compare generational greats across eras. We narrow down our comparisons using only statistics and facts.

Kamaru Usman was an NCAA Div II wrestler who has now made a lasting impact on the UFC’s welterweight title lineage. Dispatching reigning champion Tyron Woodley, Usman has now gone undefeated in title matches after 6 bouts. He has faced some major names along the way, such as Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington, while proudly representing Nigeria.

Representing his country-boy roots, the All-American Matt Hughes was an NCAA Div I wrestler who is now a well-deserved UFC Hall of Fame Fighter. Hughes holds the record for most finishes in the UFC Welterweight division with 11 and has the second most amount of welterweight title defenses, only after Georges St-Pierre. Matt Hughes was best known for his legendary fights with Frank Trigg, BJ Penn, and Carlos Newton.

Comparing Kings: Kamaru Usman vs Matt Hughes

Facts and Stats

Kamaru Usman Matt Hughes
20-1-0 Record 45-9-0
6-0 Championship Record 9-3
9 (T)KO 21
1 Sub 14
281-71-3 Defeated UFC Opponents Record (When Fought) 203-53-14
8-9 Defeated Opponents UFC Title Record (When Defeated) 6-11-1
15 UFC Win Streak 6
3-0 Vs. NCAA Div I Wrestlers 2-1
4-0 Vs. BJJ Champions 2-2
52% Sig. Strike Accuracy 53%
58% Strike Defense 53%
49% Takedown Accuracy 50%
50 Takedowns Landed 39
100% Takedown Defense 35%
1:58:12 Control Time 1:50:17
47.30% Control Time % 55.40%
1:18:28 Top Position Time 1:41:51
6’0″ Height 5’9″
76″ Reach 73″
170 Weight 170
Switch Stance Switch

NCAA Div I Wrestlers

Kamaru Usman has wins against two NCAA D1 level wrestlers in Covington and Woodley. Covington is quite decorated as a wrestler, winning a FILA World Championship in 2013. Usman has defeated Covington twice.

While being an NCAA Div I wrestler Matt Hughes went 2-1 against his cohorts in this category. These opponents are Frank Trigg (x2) and Josh Koscheck.

BJJ Champions

Against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champions, Kamaru Usman has an impressive list against four strong opponents: Demian Maia, dos Anjos, Gilbert BurnsSérgio Moraes. Maia has won ADCC and Jiu-Jitsu world championships. Dos Anjos and Burns won one World Jiu-Jitsu Championship each, and Moraes has two.

Matt Hughes went 2-2 against BJJ world champions. This is mainly due to his trilogy with BJJ World Champion BJ Penn, and add one win over Renzo Gracie. Hughes’ opponents of Royce Gracie and Ricardo Almeida never earned a number one spot in BJJ world championship.

Opponents UFC Title Record

This statistic only includes at the time when they were defeated. To include all title fights would give Hughes a massive number because after St-Pierre, Penn, and Sean Sherk lost to Hughes then later they went on to hold many more titles.

Only a few of Kamaru Usman’s opponents have competed in UFC title fights, and collectively they have a record of 8-8. These are Jorge Masvidal (0-2), Burns (0-1), Covington (1-2), Woodley (5-1), dos Anjos (2-2), and Maia (0-2).

Matt Hughes’ opponents held a total UFC title record of 6-11-1. These being Trigg (0-2), Penn (1-1-1), Royce Gracie (3-1), St-Pierre (0-1), Sherk (0-1), Gil Castillo (0-1), Newton (1-2), Hayato Mach Sakurai (0-1), and Matt Serra (1-1). While Sakurai never held a UFC title, he was the number one ranked welterweight when Hughes defeated him.

Other Notable Statistics

Matt Hughes was best known for his smothering top control game. He specialized in powerful takedowns and ground and pound. Given this, it is notable to see both men’s control time and control percentage are very close.

Also notable is how much larger Kamaru Usman is. Fighters have gotten much better at cutting weight. At 5’9″ a welterweight Matt Hughes is shorter than a featherweight Max Holloway who is 5’11”.

For more statistics and the sources for the statistics, one can use UFC Stats (Hughes/Usman), and UFC Record Book – Welterweight. More MMA at MMA SuckaRecords from Tapology.

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Timothy Wheaton is a combat sports writer who covers MMA, Kickboxing, and Muay Thai. He has been an avid follower of these sports since 2005. Tim is a host alongside Frazer Krohn on the MMA Sucka Podcast.

With MMA Sucka, Tim has contributed interviews, articles, and podcasts. He has also represented MMA Sucka in person at live Bellator and GLORY Kickboxing events.

Tim also works with a host of other media sites such as Calf Kick Sports, Sportskeeda MMA, Low Kick MMA, Vecht Sport Info, Fighters First, and Beyond Kickboxing. Tim is is the authority on kickboxing and MMA journalist who has covered K-1, PRIDE FC, UFC, GLORY Kickboxing, Bellator, ONE Championship, and plenty more.

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