Kamaru Usman, the former UFC welterweight champion, responds to Khamzat Chimaev’s demands and sheds light on his future plans in the UFC. Usman acknowledges the appeal of a potential fight with Chimaev. Still, he clarifies that the fight won’t happen anytime soon, as Chimaev’s next bout is scheduled in the middleweight division against Paulo Costa at UFC 294 in October.
Usman and Chimaev recently exchanged public comments about why their fight hasn’t materialized yet, with Chimaev questioning Usman’s reluctance to move up. Usman, however, addresses these comments and points out the reasons behind the delay. Usman reflects on his previous fight against Leon Edwards, where he failed to regain the welterweight title. Despite the loss, he aims to bounce back this year and regain his momentum.
Regarding a potential fight with Chimaev, Usman emphasizes that it has to make sense and acknowledges the consensus that the matchup would be intriguing. However, he highlights Chimaev’s limited experience in the UFC, with only five fights and one against a ranked opponent, leading to his high ranking in the division.
Usman dismisses Chimaev’s suggestion that he move up to middleweight for the fight, asserting he’s the former champion and top-ranked in the division. He expresses his frustration with Chimaev’s demands and views them as disrespectful to the sport. Usman had offered a catchweight compromise, but Chimaev declined and insisted on a middleweight fight. Usman finds this demand unreasonable, given Chimaev’s limited accomplishments in the sport.
Usman addresses his future opponents in the welterweight division. He mentions fighters like Shavkat Rakhmonov and Stephen Thompson as potential opponents. While Rakhmonov has trained with Usman, making the fight less appealing, Usman is open to facing Thompson due to his reputation and challenging fighting style. Usman also considers Belal Muhammad a potential opponent due to his impressive unbeaten streak and recent victory over Gilbert Burns. However, he recognizes that a fight with Muhammad would require both fighters to risk their title hopes.