And after defending his belt for the first time against Colby Covington, the Nigerian Nightmare showed he belongs at the top of the division two years later by beating Covington again.
Usman’s dominant five-round unanimous decision win to defend the belt back in October was more evidence to support former teammate Burns’ claim that Canadian legend St-Pierre would have lost to the 6ft 77kg wrestler.
He told MMA Fighting: “I tried to take him down and couldn’t, Colby tried to take him down and couldn’t, many others tried but it’s really hard to take him down.
“I remember landing some hard shots on Kamaru, really hard ones, feeling my hand landing flush on his head, and he kept going.
“I remember one head kick I landed flush, I had a bump on my shin afterwards, and he kept going.
“I think his striking is superior to St-Pierre’s. Kamaru is on another level in wrestling, too. I think that both in their prime, I’d bet on Kamaru.”
As a champion Usman has conquered all those who came before him, including knockout wins over Burns, Covington and Jorge Masvidal.
However many – chief among them St-Pierre’s former opponent Michael Bisping – would argue that he still has some way to go before his resume stacks up against that of the Canadian’s.
But Burns is still left in no doubt that Usman is the best to ever do it at 170 lbs.
“The way he’s dominating is way more appealing than St-Pierre’s way,” he added.
“St-Pierre took people down and did ground and pound, it wasn’t such convincing victory sometimes, and Kamaru is winning way more convincingly.
“He’s already the best in my opinion, but I think he’s still missing more title defenses to end the conversation.”