Former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has plans to recapture his 170-pound crown, but the train traveling back to the division title will not be boarded by undefeated prospect Shavkat Rakhmonov, simply because they share many of the same coaches.
If “Nomad” wants to fight Usman, it will have to be for the welterweight title.
“Yeah, it’s a fight I would take for the title,” Usman said during the UFC 290 Fan Q&A (via James Lynch). “I mean that’s the thing is at the end of the day every man wants to be the champion. When you get to the top of this sport, you wanna be a champion.”
“So who am I to deny him when I’m the champion?” Usman continued. “Deny him of his shot at the championship? I’m not. But if it’s not for the championship and we happen to train with the exact same coach, like ... why? What’s the point?”
The point is to determine who is most worthy of a 170-pound title shot.
At this rate, Rakhmonov (17-0) may get there first. The undefeated “Nomad” returns against middleweight mainstay Kelvin Gastelum this fall in Las Vegas. As for Usman (20-3), he remains unbooked after losing back-to-back title fights against current champion Leon Edwards.