Kamaru Usman wants to return to the Octagon as soon as he can, possibly against the winner of Leon Edwards vs Nate Diaz, set to take place at UFC 263 on June 12th.
Usman is coming off a spectacular second-round knockout over Jorge Masvidal in their rematch at UFC 261. The two fought for the first time at UFC 251, when ‘Gamebred’ stepped in on one week’s notice to replace Gilbert Burns. Although ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ scored a comfortable unanimous decision victory, he wasn’t satisfied with his performance.
Satisfied To Showcase His Skills
“It was not being able to display those skills that I showed in this second fight that angered me in that first fight but in this second one, I was extremely satisfied,” Usman said. “I came for violence. There’s been two fights that I came really just for violence. I was really just going to trust in my abilities and not necessarily systematically do things like I normally do, I was just gonna come for violence and that was this fight and my first title defence.”
Despite having already fought twice this year, against Masvidal and Burns previously at UFC 258, Usman wants to stay active while he’s feeling great.
“Because I’m just in this place in my career and I’ve come to this realisation where I understand – I’ve been through so much with my body,” Usman explained. “I’ve had seven surgeries, and those long, extended times in between camps it makes each fight feel like it’s a brand new first fight and I don’t like that feeling. It comes with a lot of anxiety. Now pile on the fact that you are a world champion, now pile on the fact that you are from a different continent and the whole continent is on your shoulders, now pile on the fact that everyone’s talking crap, you’re not that good, this and that, it just becomes so much to bear…
“My body is starting to come together where, if I can, why not? Why not stay active? You can tell, I fought three fights in the last nine months to where some guys haven’t fought three fights in three years. I’m just trying to stay there.”
No Rematch For Colby Covington
Colby Covington has been campaigning for a rematch with Usman ever since suffering a fifth-round TKO loss to him at UFC 245. Although ‘Chaos’ has a dominant victory over Tyron Woodley since the loss, the champion believes there are more deserving candidates in the division.
“I’m not gonna say I don’t want the fight,” Usman said. “I want all the smoke, it doesn’t matter who it is. I want all the smoke. At the end of the day, it’s what have you done to earn this? Your claim to fame can’t be, ‘Oh, I went five rounds and then the guy broke my jaw and finished me.’ That can’t be your claim to fame. Masvidal went five rounds with me too. Tyron Woodley went five rounds with me. You can’t sit around and fight three fights in three years and expect to get a title shot when I just fought three times in nine months. The champion can’t be the most active guy in the division.
“I’ve been through the whole division and now I’m coming back around. So everyone sitting around and going ‘I’m next, I’m next, I’m next!’ I don’t really believe in that. Show me something. Show me some activity. Leon Edwards, granted he was kind of stuck in that funky spot where he didn’t fight for two years and that set him back but look at the guy. Since he fought me he’s put together an impressive resume. Putting together an eight-fight win streak or something like that. You’ve got Michael Chiesa putting together a four-fight win streak, you’ve got Vicente Luque coming back and putting on a four-fight win streak and finishing these guys, so why does he deserve this shot? Just because he went five rounds and then I broke his jaw and finished the fight? That doesn’t make sense to me.”
Leon Edwards vs Nate Diaz Winner Or Middleweight Title Fight?
Usman is open to fighting the winner of Edwards and Diaz if he sees something spectacular from either of them at UFC 263, and would also consider moving up to fight for the middleweight title. As long Israel Adesanya isn’t the champion.
“Yes I do want to see how those play out because there’s a lot of implications,” Usman said. “If Leon looks spectacular, it makes sense. If Nate looks spectacular, that could make sense as well. With the whole Marvin and Israel situation, I don’t necessarily want to think about that. I’m 100 percent behind Izzy and I think he can pull it out. I love Marvin as well but I think Izzy can pull that one out. He’s done it before and I think he can and I think he will. But if there was a case to where I would actually go up and challenge for that belt it would be without Izzy being in the picture. So if Izzy’s not champ, then it’s something I could take a look at.”
Who do you think should Kamaru Usman fight next?