Mohammed Usman sets the record straight on Mitchell Sipe trash-talk.
On The Ultimate Fighter season 30, episode 3 fans will watch a heavyweight showdown between Mohammed Usman and Mitchell Sipe that carried with it some of the most intense moments in the season so far.
After their names were announced in episode 2, Sipe told Usman he’d “send him to the Gulag” which drew questions from fans and even cast members … including Usman himself.
“Honestly, long story short, I honestly thought he was saying Goulash,” Usman laughed while speaking with FanSided. “I had to ask the producers and the people on the show, can they give me a recipe for Goulash. Cause I was like, after I beat him, I was gonna make a Goulash for his whole team. So, I was like, I’m gonna make Goulash. I thought he kept saying Goulash, but then I guess when I was reading up on it, someone told me it was like a prison in a game in Call of Duty. It’s like a prison they send people to, but I thought it was Goulash like the meal.”
That wasn’t the only trash talk Usman encountered with Sipe. He also claimed that Usman faked an injury to avoid fighting him prior to TUF.
“I understand he wants to fight me. I guess because of my name, my last name, or he wants to have a story to tell,” Usman said. “When I first started my career six years ago, at Tachi Palace, that’s when I was supposed to run into this guy. It’s crazy because me and my brother [Kamaru Usman] even talked about it. We were supposed to fight six years ago and it was a tournament. We both won our fights and we were supposed to fight each other for the Tachi Palace heavyweight belt. Long story short, the manager I had at the time was like screw the Tachi Palace heavyweight belt. Let’s go to a better regional promotion, so we could be seen by the bigger organizations like the UFCs, the Bellators, the ONE FCs.”
From there Usman says they signed to fight at Titan FC.
“We’re trying to get seen,” he said. “We’re trying to move up in our career, you know? We’re not worried about anyone at that point in time in my career. We were worried about the next step. So, I ended up actually going to Titan FC in Florida. They are on UFC Fight Pass, and you know, it’s pretty big for a regional show to be seen. I ended up fighting the same guy he fought on The Contender Series years after. So, I took a jump. It’s not like I went to go fight a bum. I went and fought the guy he lost to.”
Some of the other trash talk that Sipe unleashed was telling Usman he wasn’t a good fighter.
“I lost to the same guy he lost to, that’s who I went and fought. I fought that guy and lost by decision and he got finished by that guy and I didn’t even still know what I was doing in MMA,” Usman said. “For him to say I was ducking him or anything, I went and fought a tougher opponent because I was looking ahead. At the end of the day, I lost that fight, but I learned a lot about myself, that I could actually fight because it was a grueling three-round fight. I didn’t know, my skills were nowhere near where they were now. I was just grabbing. So, for him to say I was ducking him, it was just him to just have a storyline. It was ok, he motivated me, he talked a lot, he gave me something to feel in the house. I was very appreciative for him.”
Mohammed Usman says he was motivated to ‘punch this guy in the face’ after trash talk from Mitchell Sipe on TUF 30
Some fighters enjoy the trash talk and feed off that energy in the cage. Usman seems to be one of those guys, at least in part.
“I wanna say it definitely doesn’t matter, but it definitely motivated me to really wanna punch this guy in the face,” he said. “It was almost like he was just hating on me, just pure hate. I was respecting everyone. I was minding my own business, but this guy just jumped out of nowhere and started talking bad about me, making all these assumpting saying all these things. So, it definitely motivated me to wanna punch him. So, yeah, it made it easier.”
At the end of their fight, the animosity seemed to still be thick with Sipe who continued jawing even after the fight was over. But according to Usman, it stopped there.
“It stopped that night,” he said. “As soon as I got home, I think he had to go to the hospital. After that, he just apologized, and said, hey man, no bad blood. I appreciate you and you’re a cool dude. Just trying to, you know, I guess try to make myself relevant. He says make myself relevant, make a name for myself. So, he was really just trying to push the storyline.”
Usman would go on to win their fight unanimously after three rounds, but despite the win, there are things he wishes he’d done differently.
“The only thing I regret honestly, I feel like I could have done more in the fight, but my coaches all told me I did a wonderful job negating what he does,” Usman said. “He’s like a guy that just comes out and just tries to maul and brawl and just go balls to the walls. But, after a couple shots, he knew he couldn’t come in. I was not the guy he could come into like that. So, I negated his game plan, which was just to brawl. Once I could shut him down, it put me in position where I could get my offense going.”
As Usman’s name begins to grow, so do the fan interactions, which he says are still labeling him as the brother of the pound-for-pound king.
“It’s the same typical, you know, certain fans you get that backlash for being Kamaru Usman’s brother,” he said. “Or like, you’re not gonna live up to this, you’re not gonna live up to that. I really tend to just block it out and just stay focused on the goal, which is to win fights. It’s just one fight at a time. I don’t really overlook or overthink. I just really focus on what I have to do each time, which is win my fights. I feel like if I keep doing that, I’ll be at a level they won’t be able to deny me.”
Usman is on Team Pena, being coached by the UFC bantamweight champion, Julianna Pena. He says she’s gotten invaluable advice from the champion along the way.
“The best advice I got, she’s such a firecracker,” he laughed. “The best advice I got from Julianna is just focus. Focus on your goal. Tunnel vision. Whatever you wanna do, you can do, just focus. Focus and my giant is slain. She was telling me my giant is slain. This fight was like a big obstacle for me. I haven’t fought in a little while and it felt like it was my first fight. It felt like me getting my start, and she was like once you get over this hump, you’ll be able to take a deep breath and notice you’re here. So, just your giant is slain, so basically saying I slayed my giant and I’ve already slayed him. Just go out there and do what you need to do, and I did. It was wonderful.”