Reigning UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is willing to move up to middleweight in search of his second title, but not if it means a match up with fellow African champion Israel Adesanya.
Usman, who powered through Gilbert Burns last weekend at UFC 258 to claim his third-straight title defense, is quickly running out of things to prove at 170 pounds. He has produced a 13-0 record since making his Octagon debut back in 2015 and has captured wins over Jorge Masvidal, Colby Covington, Tyron Woodley, Demian Maia, Rafael dos Anjos and Burns along the way. Usman’s success already has him being mentioned alongside Georges St-Pierre as the best welterweight of all time and there are no signs of “Nigerian Nightmare” slowing down anytime soon.
As a result, Usman is already thinking about moving up in weight and trying to become the UFC’s fifth double champion in history. Usman is big enough and strong enough to contend with any fighter in the middleweight division, but he doesn’t want to steal any momentum away from Adesanya.
“Absolutely, absolutely. If Izzy’s willing to move up – well he is moving up, but if he’s willing to give up that 185 belt and says ‘I have nothing to do with that anymore,’ then absolutely I would entertain that thought,” Usman told ESPN.
Adesanya, who is 9-0 since his UFC debut back in 2018, has already defended the 185-pound strap twice. “Last Stylebender” has been so dominant that he’s already moving up to light heavyweight to challenge current champion Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259 next month (details HERE). It is unknown at this time if Adesanya will juggle both titles should he defeat Blachowicz, but Usman needs clarity before making any move up in weight.
“On no account right now would I ever entertain going up to fight Izzy,” Usman added. “That’s just not something that I’m interested in. I’ve stated over and over before, I’d rather two Africans with belts as opposed to one African with two belts. After March, it’s gonna be three Africans with four belts. It’s a good time to be an African.”
Usman is currently in talks to defend his title next in a rematch with Masvidal later this year, as well as potentially coaching the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter. It will be some time before “Nigerian Nightmare” takes his talents to the middleweight division, but it may be the only move to make if he clears out the 170-pound roster.
What do you think, Maniacs? Should Usman move up to 185 pounds? Can he dominate that division just as well?
Let us know!