Referee John McCarthy has given his thoughts on a potential fight between UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Khamzat Chimaev.
Usman had an outstanding 2021, as he defended his title three times, against Gilbert Burns by third-round TKO at UFC 258, against Jorge Masvidal by second-round knockout at UFC 261, and against Colby Covington by unanimous decision at UFC 268. While Chimaev made his return to the Octagon after a year-long lay-off, finishing Li Jingliang in the first round at UFC 267.
McCarthy on Usman vs Chimaev: ‘It Would Be An Even Fight’
Speaking on his WEIGHIN IN podcast with Josh Thomson, McCarthy said that a potential fight between Usman and Chimaev would be very even.
“It’s even, I really believe it is…I’ve seen Chimaev and I’ve seen his stand up and it’s clean,” McCarthy said. “I do think that Kamaru has more pure power. I think Chimaev’s got a very clean stand up and I think Usman’s is getting better but he’s got more power. It’s kind of like the Ciryl Gane vs Francis Ngannou effect. Wrestling wise, Kamaru has lived off of his wrestling. He has got I believe a 100 percent takedown defense that no one’s ever taken him down. This will be the one guy who really tries.”
Earning A Title Shot
Although McCarthy believes that a potential fight between Usman and Chimaev would be an even affair, he thinks ‘Borz’ needs at least one more impressive performance to earn title shot.
“The real question is this, who are they going to put Chimaev [against], because it’s not going to be against Usman right away but who are they going to put Chimaev against next,” McCarthy said. “Because that’s going to be the one, that’s going to launch him forward or slow him down and put him back to the position where he’s at. If he has a hard time in on it, we’re thinking it could possibly be Neil Magny, Vicente Luque put his name in there a little bit, Belal [Muhammad] has put his name in there saying ‘Hey, I’ll sign the contract right now’. If he has an impressive performance, one that is not even as impressive as what he’s done in the past, but an impressive performance, that’s what’s going to push him forward.”
Do you agree with John McCarthy?