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UFC 278 headliner Kamaru Usman is better than MMA legend Khabib Nurmagomedov, says their manager

Jason Burgos
ufc 278, kamaru usman
Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to the best fighter he has ever had as a client, the manager for UFC 278 headliner Kamaru Usman believes he is so good that his talents even surpass that of another one of his clients in lightweight GOAT Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Usman will compete in the main event of UFC 278 on Saturday night. He will look to defend his welterweight title for a sixth straight time and move his current win streak to 21 straight bouts. If he retired now he would have a legendary career that would put him among the greatest fighters in MMA history and have a case to be considered the best 170-pound fighter in UFC history.

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A man that knows a lot about elite-level UFC fighters is Ali Abdelaziz, the head of powerhouse management company Dominance MMA. During an influential run in the sport, he has represented many of the best fighters of the last decade. Competitors like Usman, former two-division UFC champion Henry Cejudo, former interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje, PFL goddess Kayla Harrison, and UFC lightweight legend Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Top MMA manager says Kamaru Usman in class of his own ahead of UFC 278 title fight

ufc 278, kamaru usman
Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

During a conversation with TMZ Sports on Saturday, Abdelaziz was asked about his list of future Hall-of-Fame clients and if Usman is the best of the bunch. Despite his close relationship with many of them, he couldn’t help but admit “The Nigerian Nightmare” is the greatest that he’s ever worked with and seen.

“Kamaru did it the right way. He has beaten everybody. He never ducked anybody. Fought everybody and he ran out of people to fight. … It’s very hard, man. You’re talking about Henry Cejudo, two-division champion, defended at two-weight divisions, right? Khabib, undefeated, never lost, barely lost a round. But when you talk about Kamaru, for me Kamaru at welterweight — one of the hardest divisions in the UFC — he’s beating these guys and he’s sticking around.

“He’s 35, sticking around. You can say Khabib retired early. Henry retired a little bit early. I love all of them and everybody knows how close I am to Khabib, but right now, the way Kamaru’s doing it, I don’t think anybody’s doing it the way Kamaru’s doing it. And he’s willing to go up to light heavyweight and be a two-division champion. You have to give it to Kamaru.”

Ali Abdelaziz on Kamaru Usman’s greatness

UFC 278 takes place on Saturday night inside the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. The main card pay-per-view will air exclusively on the streaming service ESPN+ at 10 PM ET.