Paul Felder: It’s going to take a strong ‘freak grappler’ to beat Kamaru Usman, but Khamzat Chimaev still has more to prove


Kamaru Usman is one of the most dominant champions on the entire UFC roster, and it’s going to take a lot for somebody to finally knock the crown from off his head.

All signs are currently pointing towards Leon Edwards getting the next shot at Usman later this year as he seeks to become champion and avenge the last loss he suffered in the octagon back in 2015.

While Edwards believes he is capable of completing the task, UFC color commentator Paul Felder (retired lightweight competitor) thinks it will take an extraordinary performance to win that title from Usman.

“I really, really like Leon Edwards and I think he deserves this title shot more than anybody,” Felder said on The Fighter vs The Writer. But I believe that this is a victory for Kamaru once again.

” I think it will take someone that is a freak wrestler and someone that’s as strong in those areas [to beat Usman].”

Felder looks at two of his longtime teammates as legitimate threats to Usman: Belal Muhammad, who is currently riding a seven-fight unbeaten strike, and undefeated welterweight Sean Brady, who sports a 5-0 record in the UFC with a win over Michael Chiesa in his most recent outing.

Both Muhammad and Brady come from grappling backgrounds, which is what Felder feels an opponent is going to need to really challenge Usman.

” These two men to me, after Belal’s last performance as [Stephen] Wonderboy and Sean’s career-long performances, are one of the two in the future [fighting for the title],” Felder.

” I don’t believe it is yet. Leon should be considered the next man. However, I believe it is .”

that will challenge [Usman] the future.

The only contender left out is Khamzat Chumaev from Chechen, a wrecking ball who has won four fights in his UFC career.

Chimaev is currently scheduled to clash with Gilbert Burns in a featured bout at UFC 273 on April 9, and that will be his biggest test to date by a rather wide margin.

Felder is aware of the potential that Chimaev has, but he also knows he needs to pause when it comes down to his title aspirations. He’s not yet able to prove himself against top welterweights at the UFC.

” Even though we agree that [Khamzat Chimaev is] is the greatest guy in this division, hands down. You have to show me, and the UFC staff, that it’s possible to make the welterweight more manageable than the last time,” Felder stated. Felder said, “That was an awful show.

” I was there for the weigh-ins. While I don’t believe he gained weight, he looked a bit jumbled. He tried to manipulate [the situation], so they took the towel off and made him sit down. Then they asked him to come out. It’s necessary to show that you are a welterweight. Because you might be the future [185] pound champion but you’ve got to get that weight under control.”

Chimaev did face some scrutiny when he stepped on the scale ahead of his win over Li Jingliang at UFC 267, but ultimately he made the welterweight limit.

He’ll need to do that again in April for the fight against Burns, who is looking to stop the hype surrounding Chimaev while seeking to put himself back in title contention as well.

Although a win is not guaranteed, if Chimaev succeeds it will be a significant step towards his claim to the title of legitimate challenger for Usman. He must get past Burns.

” “He’s so talent,” Felder stated of Chimaev. “But he’s got to beat some of these guys that have been working.”