Kamaru Usman and the other athletes who’ve been stopped at history’s doorstep

Kamaru Usman and the other athletes who’ve been stopped at history’s doorstep


Kamaru Usman of Nigeria looks on in a welterweight title bout against Leon Edwards of Jamaica during UFC 278 at Vivint Arena on August 20, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Kamaru Usman of Nigeria looks on in a welterweight title bout against Leon Edwards of Jamaica during UFC 278 at Vivint Arena on August 20, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Image: Getty Images

Kamaru Usman’s loss to Leon Edwards in the final minute of the fifth round was the fourth latest finish for a UFC championship fight. Usman, the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC will be granted a rematch to regain his title, but his chance to tie Anderson Silva’s 16 consecutive wins is likely gone. The significance of the milestone he was chasing, the length of time it took to reach the brink of history, and the manner in which he was knocked out right before reaching a historical summit was a multi-pronged dagger.

Usman’s streak began on July 12, 2015, against Hayder Hassan. His second win early on in his near-record streak was a unanimous decision over Edwards in December of that year. 2015 is so long ago, that the Warriors had just won their first NBA title, Deshaun Watson was still a freshman at Clemson, Johnny Manziel was the Cleveland quarterback whose behavior was under the microscope, and Jeb Bush led early Republican presidential primary polls.

At 35, Usman will never be able to string 15 wins in a row together again. There’s just not enough time. Silva’s record is safe for now. With that in the rearview mirror, or haunting him forever, here are some of the other comparable instances of athletes halted athletes in pursuit of history and record milestones just before the finish line.



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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.