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UFC 286’s Kamaru Usman won’t cancel African-born fighter for being African

Kamaru Usman has some advice for top Middleweight contender, Dricus Du Plessis.

South Africa’s Dricus Du Plessis — who was born in Pretoria and has called it home his entire life — picked up yet another big win at UFC 285 earlier this month (March 4, 2023), defeating Derek Brunson via a second-round corner stoppage technical knockout (watch highlights). The win extended “DDP’s” current streak to seven (five in UFC), placing him at No. 6 in the division’s official UFC rankings.

Leading up to the fight, Du Plessis was asked about bringing a belt back to his continent of Africa after all recent champions, Kamaru Usman, Israel Adesanya, and Francis Ngannou, had either fallen or moved on from the promotion. “Still Knocks” questioned whether or not those champions’ belts ever went to Africa and went on to describe what an African champion and fighter is:

LIVE! Watch UFC 286 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

CHAMPIONSHIP TRILOGY! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to The O2 in London England, on Sat., March 18, 2023, with newly-minted Welterweight kingpin, Leon Edwards, running it back with former 170-pound champion, Kamaru Usman, for a third (and likely final) time. In UFC 286’s pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, all-action Lightweight knockout artists, Justin Gaethje and Rafael Fiziev, will lock horns with the winner inching closer to a future Lightweight title shot.

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

Set to attempt to reclaim the Welterweight title at UFC 286 this weekend (Sat., March 18, 2023) in a trilogy bout with Leon Edwards, Usman — who was born in Nigeria and was raised in the United States — first addressed Du Plessis’ comments.

“One of my former teammates sent it to me — they were trying to be messy, of course,” Usman said at UFC 286 media day. “I saw it and the thing about me is I try not to be quick to jump on someone and really kill them for those things. I’m not a part of this cancel culture.

“I understand what he’s trying to say, but the one thing that he’s failing to realize is just because I go to China and my parents are in China and I’m raised in China that doesn’t make me more Chinese than people from China,” he continued. “That doesn’t make me more Chinese. So, just because you went over to South Africa and you were raised there that doesn’t make you African.”

Usman went on to share that he was surprised to hear the somewhat personal direction of the comments after previously training with Du Plessis.

The “Nigerian Nightmare” has always preached to his rivals and opponents “keep that same energy” when it comes to trash talk. In this case with Du Plessis, Usman is advising something similar to those now famous lines.

“What I would say to him is just try to be a little bit more careful with what you say and how you say it,” Usman said. “Because that’s the thing nowadays. These younger guys and these newer guys that get up here they just talk because they want to appeal to the fans and the people.

“Try to be more mindful because 20 years from now that’s not gonna age well,” he concluded.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 286 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN2/ESPN+ at 3 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 286: “Edwards vs. Usman 3” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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