Kamaru Usman currently sits as the pound-for-pound best fighter in mixed martial arts (MMA) today, but the reigning UFC welterweight champion is willing to put all of that on the line in a boxing match against perennial champion Canelo Alvarez.
Usman, who has decimated the UFC’s stacked welterweight division over the past three years, is quickly running out of opponents for his next title defense. Outside of guys like Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev, Usman has no new contenders to prepare for. He’s already defeated the likes of Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal, and Gilbert Burns, and while Usman could always make a move up in weight that seems unlikely at this time.
Instead, Usman continues to focus on a crossover boxing match with Alvarez, who is widely considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in his sport. While Usman is more known for his wrestling and non-stop motor, “Nigerian Nightmare” thinks he would do well in a boxing match with Canelo. It’s obviously up for debate, but most people believe Usman would be biting off more than he can chew based on a number of factors like technique, experience, and level of competition. The UFC welterweight champion doesn’t see it that way.
“In 2022, I’m gonna shock the world,” Usman told TMZ Sports. “July, International Fight Week, I’m gonna fight Leon Edwards. God willing I get through Leon Edwards, September, Mexican Independence Day, I will stop Canelo Alvarez.
“Absolutely I see myself winning that fight. And that’s the thing that a lot of people fail to realize. A lot of people, because they think they can’t do something, they try to put that upon you. ‘Oh, you can’t do that. It can’t be done.’ Everything can’t be done until it’s done. So a lot of people are gonna say, ‘You can’t do it. No, he’s too good, he’s too skilled, too strong.’ Yeah, they said that about Tyron Woodley. He’s too big, he’s got knockout power, he’s fast, he’s explosive. What happened? I told him I was gonna dominate him for five rounds and I did that. I’m not gonna step in there if I don’t think I can get it done.”
Usman, 34, has hinted at possibly retiring from MMA so his time inside of the Octagon may already be numbered. Now would be the time to strike while the iron is hot and book a matchup between the two best pound-for-pound fighters in combat sports today. According to Usman, it would be in Canelo’s best interest to accept the fight and make the biggest payday available to him. That’s because the UFC champion believes he’s the biggest draw out there for the Mexican fighter.
“Boxing is dead at the end of the day and I’m not saying there’s not good boxers, there’s some fantastic boxers,” Usman said. “Errol Spence Jr., I mean there’s a ton of guys that I could go down and really tell you that are fantastic fighters. But boxing is dying. At the end of the day, everybody wants to be entertained. And when have you ever seen the pound-for-pound against the pound-for-pound?
“He’s walking around saying payday, payday... absolutely. It’s the biggest payday you are ever gonna make. I understand that he gets paid, he makes money. But fighting me is the biggest payday he’s ever gonna make. We talking nine figures, for sure.”
Whenever these crossover matchups are discussed we automatically think of Conor McGregor’s massive superfight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. back in 2017. Many fighters have tried to replicate McGregor’s move over to boxing, but it just doesn’t work the same. That fight will arguably never be matched in buildup, PPV buys, and overall intrigue, which is why it’s difficult to think that Canelo could make “nine figures” fighting Usman.
That said, both fighters are running out of notable options so maybe a superfight is the right move to make. Just don’t expect it to break any records.
What do you think, Maniacs? Is Usman vs. Canelo something you want to see? Does Usman stand a chance inside of the boxing ring?