Former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has responded to Khamzat Chimaev’s request and revealed his future plans in the UFC. Usman acknowledged the appeal of a potential matchup with Chimaev. Still, Chimaev made it clear that the fight won’t happen anytime soon, as his next fight is scheduled for October’s UFC 294 in the middleweight division against Paulo Costa.
Usman and Chimaev have recently exchanged public comments about why a fight hasn’t happened yet, with Chimaev questioning Usman’s reluctance to move up the rankings. However, Usman has addressed these comments and pointed out the reasons behind the delay. Usman looks back on his last fight with Leon Edwards, where he was unable to regain the welterweight title. Although he lost, he aims to bounce back and regain momentum this year.
Regarding the possibility of a matchup with Chimaev, Usman stressed that it has to make sense and acknowledged the consensus that the matchup would be interesting. However, he has limited Chimaev’s experience in the UFC, with only his five fights and his one fight against a ranked opponent, which has led to his high ranking in the division. I am emphasizing that.
Usman dismissed Chimaev’s suggestion that he move up to middleweight for the fight, insisting that he is a former champion and the top-ranked fighter in the division. He has expressed dissatisfaction with Chimaev’s demands and considers them disrespectful to the sport. Usman offered a compromise at catchweight, but Chimaev declined and insisted on fighting at middleweight. Usman believes this request is unreasonable given Chimaev’s limited track record in the sport.
Usman addresses his future welterweight opponent. He has mentioned fighters like Shavkat Rakhmonov and Stephen Thompson as potential opponents. Rakhmonov’s training with Usman makes the fight less appealing, but Usman is open to facing Thompson because of his reputation and challenging fighting style. Usman also sees Belal Muhammad as a potential opponent due to his impressive undefeated record and recent win over Gilbert Burns. But he recognizes that fighting Muhammad would require both fighters to fight for their title hopes.