clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Kamaru Usman explains why UFC welterweight division has been dormant - It’s no longer ‘As Real As It Gets’

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight division is currently as competitive as ever, but up until last week’s flurry of fight announcements, there really wasn’t any movement in the weight class so far in 2018.

After many failed attempts to get a fight, Kamaru Usman was finally able to secure a showdown against Santiago Ponzinibbio, which is set to headline UFC Fight Night 129 on May 19, 2018 in Santiago, Chile.

So why did Usman struggle so much to finally lock down an opponent? To hear him tell it, the sport has changed over the last year or so.

“This is the biggest reason why: The fight game has changed in a sense where it is not what it used to be. I don’t know who you can blame, there are a few guess [sic] of people who you can put that on. The fight game has changed to where it’s no longer the toughest is fighting the toughest to be the best on the planet,” said Usman on a recent interview on The MMA Hour.

“Now there are all these different components that go into it. Fighters no longer manage themselves, they have a whole team behind them. A fighter has a manager, an agent, a Hollywood agent, they got this and that. And on top of that, they’ve got their whole team of coaches. Also, the company that we’re under now, it’s not the old UFC ‘As Real As It Gets’ hardcore. It’s an entertainment company now,” said Kamaru. “So, everybody now is trying to find the favorable matchup; ‘I want that big name, or this big fight, I want this standup guy here, I don’t want want to deal with a hard-nosed wrestler that I can’t take down, or someone I can’t out-strike.’ So all these guys are trying to pick favorable matcups.”

Colby Covington is one fighter “The Nigerian Nightmare” has had his eye on for some time, though constant requests for a fight have fallen on deaf ears, as he’d rather “get beat up by Tyron Woodley” and make more money.

“All these guys are just trying to pick and choose the favorable matchups, favorable fights and they are just sitting. Now it’s just entertainment and everyone wants to be in the entertainment business. Everybody wants to be a star without taking those tough fights.”

Usman, meanwhile, is the polar opposite as he says he started at No. 1 and made his way all the way down to the No, 10 guy, who is Ponzinibbio, before he found someone who would finally sign on the dotted line.

Care to chime in on Usman’s assessment of the welterweight division, and UFC as a whole?

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania