Kamaru Usman wasn’t kidding when he said he wanted to advance to light heavyweight and challenge for the title after UFC 278.
Already considered one of the top heavyweights – the pound-for-pound in mixed martial arts, Usman is aiming to defend his welterweight title for the sixth time on Saturday. But if he passes Leon Edwards, he says it’s absolutely possible to gain 205 pounds right away.
In fact, Usman seems to prefer the opportunity over any other fight in his division, including a meeting with rising star Khamzat Chimaev, who next fights at UFC 279 Nate Diaz conflicts.
“I think any fight I’m going to fight next is going to be a huge fight,” Usman said during UFC 278 media day. “I’ve said I want that lightweight belt. It’s crazy to a lot of people, but a lot of things seem crazy until it’s done.
” I said I want it. After this victory, [UFC Chairman] Dana [White] and I will sit down and we will have a conversation. “
Just like Usman’s call to boxing against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, the defending 170-pound champion promises he won’t be chasing influence , and won’t just make outlandish remarks to get attention.
Instead, the 35-year-old-Nigerian-born veteran insists he’s been teasing Everything, from a potential boxing match to promotion in two divisions to challenge for a second title, is definitely something he wants to accomplish for his career.
“You think I’m joking when I come up? “I usually laugh when I’m joking, but I’m not joking.” Everyone thought I was playing the whole “Canelo” situation. I’m not.
“I really want that. This is what I want. It didn’t materialize then, and who knows what the future holds, except for that weight. Welterweight belt. I’m not saying I’ll run through this division, don’t get me wrong, but at the top, I think I can finish it.”
Currently, Jiri Prochazka holds the UFC light heavyweight title and all signs point to a December rematch with Glover Teixeira.
It remains to be seen whether the UFC will fulfill Usman’s wishes, but he intends to at least fight with Edwards after White’s fight with Edwards is over. White approached the topic. As for the logistics involved in competing at 205 pounds after being a welterweight for his entire career, he doesn’t seem overly concerned.
“I don’t need to lose weight,” Usman said. “People don’t understand what my death grip is like. I can get around you. I don’t care if you’re heavyweight or 205, these understand what my strengths are. I have an idea of what I want to do in a fight , but I leave it to my coach.
“I have a way of how I want to fight those fights in my mind, usually in The fight comes when everything else fails, and I just fuck it. No matter what I want to fight, I’m going to fight. I’m going to try the coaching method, this is what you all dialed, I’m going to do it, but if all else fails, fuck it, let’s go. “
From the sound of things, Usman is not planning to spend the rest of his light heavyweight career Instead, he wants to allocate his title fight on a larger scale. This will allow him to avoid any possible conflict with Israel Adesanya, still a close friend of the UFC middleweight champion.
As Usman said, he’s not lashing out at the whole department like he’s going to rip everyone who weighs 205 pounds , which is why he quickly turned down the suggestion that he could one day challenge Jon Jones, the longest light heavyweight champion in UFC history.
“We have to calm down about these situations right now,” Usman said. “No, Jon is Jon, he’s big, that’s why he can transition easily to heavyweight. I’ll try my luck if the money is right, but Jon is great. Jon is an amazing contender and definitely the best ever in this conversation. “