Unranked welterweight Kamaru Usman wants No. 1 contender Demian Maia in Brazil

At a time where most welterweights avoid even mentioning No. 1 contender Demian Maia, up-and-coming prospect Kamaru Usman is chomping at the bit to test his skills against the all-time great grappler.

Usman, a three-time NCAA All-American wrestler and winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” season 21, put on a dominant performance last Saturday against Warlley Alves in front of a hostile crowd in Brazil, and afterwards called out a hometown hero.

The call-out was laughed off by many fans and it makes sense considering Usman has yet to beat anyone in the welterweight top 15. Even Maia acknowledged that while Usman’s fourth-straight win was impressive, he should probably crack the top 10 before reaching for No. 1 contenders.

Still, the relative backlash hasn’t deterred Usman, who continued his crusade this week.

The fight is unlikely to happen, right now, as the UFC doesn’t make a habit of matching deserved title contenders with unranked prospects.

But if there’s anything we’ve learned in the Conor McGregor era, it’s that a closed mouth don’t get fed. Taking advantage of his time on the mic is likely to grant Usman a fight with a fighter ranked in the top 15, maybe even top 10, next.

It won’t be Maia. But the audacity of his call-out definitely improves his standings amongst the rest of the welterweight prospects.