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UFC: McGregor vs Usman Odds Analysis

Conor McGregor and Kamaru Usman posing in a photoshoot

There are plenty of rumors swirling as we impatiently wait on the announcement of “Notorious” Conor McGregor’s next opponent.

It appeared after he made short work of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in January that the Irishman would collide with BMF titleholder Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal.

As time has passed, though, a championship bout may be on the horizon after welterweight champion Kamaru “The Nigerian Nightmare” Usman’s manager Ali Abdelaziz hinted McGregor may get the opportunity.

Online sportsbook Bovada has released odds on this potential fight with the reigning champion, Usman, listed as a -235 favorite and the would-be challenger, McGregor, coming back as a +185 underdog.

Conor McGregor vs Kamaru Usman Betting Odds
FighterOdds
Conor McGregor+185
Kamaru Usman-235

Odds as of May 26 at Bovada

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Will McGregor vs Usman Happen?

I think it is almost a certainty that at some point, Conor McGregor will get a title shot at welterweight or in an elusive 165-pound division if that ever comes to be. The promotion’s biggest star vying to become the promotion’s first-ever three-division champion only makes sense. That said, Notorious hasn’t necessarily earned a title shot in welterweight, but there’s a ton of politicking going on among the top five, which may just open a spot for him.

The two top contenders in my eyes are Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington. The latter got his title shot in December and lost via fifth-round knockout. The former appears to have his sights set on a rematch with Nate Diaz, or maybe a fight with Covington – who really knows? Other top guys are already matched up, McGregor will only drop to lightweight to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov for the belt and he already has an opponent, so Notorious is without a dance partner at this point, as is Usman.

McGregor vs Usman Odds Analysis

If this fight is to occur and the odds remain relatively the same, it’ll mark just the third time that McGregor has been listed as an underdog in the UFC. The first time saw him as an ever-so-slight -105 dog against Jose Aldo for the featherweight strap, a bout McGregor won in 13 seconds. The second came in his lightweight championship fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov that he lost via fourth-round submission.

Meanwhile, through 11 UFC fights, Kamaru Usman has been the betting favorite in 10 of them. The lone time he was an underdog came when he challenged for the welterweight title last March against Tyron Woodley. The Nigerian Nightmare closed at +155 in that fight and went on to win a dominant unanimous decision. It isn’t surprising to see the fighter who hasn’t lost in the Octagon be the betting favorite in this fight.

How Will This Fight Play Out?

McGregor’s approach is going to be pretty obvious – stand and bang. Now, that may seem a little disrespectful, but Notorious’ striking is absolutely elite as is his fight IQ. He will read Usman and try to bait him into a brawl where he may find opportunities to unload his piston-like left hand and put the Nigerian Nightmare to sleep.

In Abdelaziz’s tweet, he suggested Usman would stand with the Irishman for the first two rounds. Not sure this is the best approach, but Usman will be the much bigger, stronger man in this fight. If he decides to keep the fight standing for two rounds and he survives, then turns to his grappling, he should cruise through the final three rounds as his wrestling skills and conditioning are far superior to McGregor’s.

I don’t see this one going in favor of Notorious. The size difference is incredible and Usman also has eaten some heavier shots from other big welterweights on his way up to being the champion. I’m not sure McGregor can bring anything to the table to put him in trouble.