UFC welterweight champion Usman has been unstoppable in the octagon and his striking has improved leaps and bounds his past few fights. Usman scored knockouts in three of his past five wins and his confidence is so high that he issued a challenge to undisputed super middleweight boxing champion Canelo Alvarez.
Legendary boxing trainer Atlas lauds Usman (20-1 MMA, 15-0 UFC) for his ability to mix things up in the cage, but doesn’t like his chances against Alvarez or even a mid-level boxer for that matter.
“He’s got physicality, he’s very strong, he’s a decent puncher and he’s not a bad striker – although I think a lot of his strengths are on the mat with his knowledge there and his physicality,” Atlas said in an interview with The Schmo. “You throw him in there with a B-level guy or even a good journeyman guy, no. I don’t want to upset anyone with the fans out there, but as long as the rules are strictly boxing, no he wouldn’t be able to have tremendous success there.”
Former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley was known for his knockout power throughout his MMA career, but his transition to boxing hasn’t been successful. In two boxing matches against YouTube star Jake Paul, Woodley was edged out, then badly knocked out in a rematch.
On the other hand, former UFC dual-champ Conor McGregor was able to have surprising success in his 2018 boxing match against undefeated Floyd Mayweather and Atlas thinks he put on a commendable performance before gassing out and getting stopped in Round 10.
“To the credit of McGregor, he was ahead,” Atlas said. “I know you guys are going to probably choke on your pecan pie that you’re having right now but he was ahead after four rounds. I was there for ESPN calling the fights, and I was there with the great Chael Sonnen sitting ringside and after four rounds he was ahead – he being McGregor – and there’s a reason for it: because he was using his reach.
“He’s a southpaw, he’s got long arms, he’s a counter puncher and he was staying outside with the counter punching, using his reach, using his jab. Four rounds, he was ahead. But then, of course, Mayweather did what he had to do in his realm to break him down, and he did, and he got to him. But the point I’m making is, styles make fights.”