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UFC 268: Kamaru Usman praises Khamzat Chimaev, but retirement could ice potential showdown

Khamzat Chimaev is once again the talk of the town after “Borz” smashed Li Jingliang in the very first round at UFC 267 before putting him to sleep with an air-tight, rear-naked choke last Saturday (Oct. 30, 2021) on “Fight Island.”

And while Colby Covington is still not sold on Chimaev even though he’s earned three first-round finishes while absorbing just one strike in a total of four fights inside the Octagon, Welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, is singing a different tune.

During a recent media day to promote his upcoming rematch against Covington at UFC 268 this weekend (Sat., Nov. 6, 2021) in New York City, “The Nigerian Nightmare” talked about Chimaev’s rise and a potential fight between them.

“First and foremost, he’s done a tremendous job with the opposition he’s been presented with. No shame in that. He’s doing great,” said Usman (via MMA Fighting). I like it. I love all the hype that’s been there. Let’s all be honest, life is not fair. We learn that as kids. Life isn’t fair, so I know some guys get a faster push, some guys don’t. It is what it is. More power to him. He’s doing a phenomenal job with the position that he’s being put in. Hats off to him,” he added before talking about a potential fight between the two men.

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Usman says he will cross that bridge if and when the time comes Chimaev earns his way up to a title shot — assuming he is still the champion at that point. But, in an interesting twist, Usman hinted that by the time “Borz” gets a shot, he could be long gone.

“As far as me [fighting him], you know I’m in a point in life to where I understand how much this takes from you. I’ve been nine weeks now away from my daughter, and FaceTime does help, but it doesn’t do it justice, as far as being there each and every day. So obviously I don’t know how much longer I’m willing to do this. They have to make sense for me now. If he’s able to get there, then we’ll talk about it at that point,” he concluded, before saying that he intends to retire on top like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Georges St. Pierre.

“I want to be that champion who does it all,” he said. “I want to do it on my own time, like Khabib [Nurmagomedov]. I know a lot of people have been throwing a lot of shade, saying a lot of things about Khabib leaving when he wanted to leave. That’s how you do it. Even Georges St-Pierre, that’s how you do it. You leave when you want to. You don’t let the sport retire you. So yeah when I feel like that time’s there, it’s time for me to go.”

A lot of things have to line up perfectly — aside from early retirement — for Usman and Chimaev to throw down inside the Octagon. For starters, “The Nigerian Nightmare” has to defeat Covington one more time in “The Big Apple.” As for Chimaev, he is still at least one — and likely two or three — big win(s) away from a shot at gold.

As it stands, the promotion is looking at a potential barn-burner between Chimaev and Nate Diaz, much to the chagrin of many. If not, then perhaps a showdown against a former title contender like Gilbert Burns makes more sense. Whatever ends up happening, Chimaev is on the right track and has the admiration of the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world at the moment.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 268 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPNEWS/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 268: “Usman vs. Covington 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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