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Manager: Kamaru Usman wants to defend welterweight title against Michael Chiesa at UFC 263

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UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos v Chiesa Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

After dismantling Jorge Masvidal last month at UFC 261 current UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has officially run through the top of 170-pound division. With victories over Masvidal, Colby Covington, and Gilbert Burns, “Nigerian Nightmare” is open to all challengers moving forward.

While Usman has already made it known that he’d be interested in a fun fight with a returning Nick Diaz the champion may have different plans for the immediate future. According to Usman’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, Usman is now targeting a clash with No. 7-ranked welterweight contender Michael Chiesa at UFC 263 this coming June.

“Kamaru in the last 10 months fought three times, Colby in the last three years, fought three times. After Kamaru destroyed his jaw and disfigured his face, Kamaru went and fought three times, defend against very tough opponents,” Abdelaziz told ESPN about Usman. “He (Colby Covington) went and fought Woodley, the guy is not even in the UFC anymore, he’s 40-years-old and beat him. Maybe Colby Covington is good for business, who cares. Chiesa, four-fight winning streak, Vicente Luque three-fight winning streak, Leon Edwards, nine-fight winning streak? Why (is) Colby Covington so special? What about Kamaru, if Marvin Vettori beats Israel Adesanya, why (doesn’t) Kamaru go up and fight Marvin Vettori for the middleweight title?

“Listen, Kamaru earned every right to do what he wants right now. But, we are respectful to Dana and his wishes and we are going to work together regardless,” Abdelaziz continued about Usman wanting to fight right away. “We will make it happen. Kamaru called me yesterday, he said June 12, let’s do Michael Chiesa. He asked me who had the longest winning streak in the division in the top five or six, I said Chiesa, he said June 12, (Chiesa) doesn’t have a fight. It doesn’t really matter who. He said let’s do Michael Chiesa, ask the UFC if I can fight on June 12. I told the UFC, Kamaru can fight three more times this year.”

If UFC decided to grant Usman his wish and book his next title fight against Chiesa for UFC 263 then it would put the long-awaited rematch between “Nigerian Nightmare” and Covington on ice. We’re not sure if that is a move the promotion wants to make considering Covington is coming off a dominant win over Tyron Woodley and is the clear-cut No. 1 contender in the division.

However, Usman has been on an absolute tear and UFC may very well give him what he wants. While a matchup with Covington makes more sense at this point in time it’s not like Chiesa is undeserving of a high-profile bout. The former Ultimate Fighter winner has produced a 4-0 record since moving up to welterweight in 2018. And with Leon Edwards already booked to fight Nate Diaz at UFC 262 later this month that leaves “Maverick” as the only other viable contender at 170 pounds other than “Chaos.”

Only time will tell if UFC books Usman vs. Chiesa and forces Covington to wait a little longer for his second title shot. Usman plans to fight at least two more times this year so maybe the welterweight champion can do both.

What do you think, Maniacs? Should UFC book Usman vs. Chiesa or find a way to schedule the rematch with Covington?


Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 263 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 ESPN/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 263: “Adesanya vs. Vettori 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.