Even Kamaru Usman will admit that his decision win over Emil Meek at UFC Fight Night 124 wasn’t his finest effort, but he would also like to point out that his post-fight remarks were taken far out of context.
In the Octagon after the victory, Usman claimed that he “fought this fight sitting at about 30 percent” in a post-fight interview with Paul Felder as he was booed by those in attendance at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
“Not my greatest performance, to be honest,” Usman said on the UFC “Unfiltered” podcast. “Everyone misconstrued my post-fight interview, basically me trying to clarify that I fought that fight at about 30 percent health as opposed to people thinking I said I only gave 30 percent effort. Who does that? Who gives 30 percent effort? You’re in there to fight another man, and he’s going all out.
“No, I didn’t give 30 percent effort. I felt like health-wise, I stepped into that cage at about 30 percent,” he continued. “People have seen me, what I’m capable of closer to 80 or 70 percent. I go out and there dominate guys. Sitting at 30 percent, that’s not my finest performance, but I still dominated the guy. Looking at it, a no-win situation for me.”
The victory was Usman’s seventh straight in UFC competition, but it was something of a disappointment coming on the heels of a first-round knockout of Sergio Moraes in his last outing. While Usman was never truly threatened by Meek, UFC President Dana White was far from impressed. White was also apparently one of the people Usman referenced when attempting to clarify his comments.
“I didn’t love that fight,” White said on Fox Sports 1. “Yeah, he’s a tough guy. Yeah, he can impose his will. But you don’t jump up and start acting like you knocked somebody out and say you only went 30 percent. So what’s that mean? What if you’re on pay-per-view? Do you use 60 percent?”
Usman also revealed the injury that hindered him and left him well below 100 percent.
“That fight I think I dang near tore my calf off my left leg,” Usman said. “So I couldn’t be as mobile as I normally am. And if you go back and watch the fight, I’m an orthodox fighter. I was in southpaw the whole time just because I couldn’t be in that orthodox stance. And then in the back warming up for the fight I could’ve sworn I tore my thumb off. I jammed my thumb so bad I had to go in the bathroom not to cry in front of the cameras that were in the back. And I don’t want these to sound like excuses. This is why I didn’t say anything before, and I didn’t pull out of the fight. But I had a lot of different things going on. A lesser guy probably would have went in there and lost the fight, as you’ve seen happen time and time again.”