Right in the thick of his fighting prime, Kamaru Usman has begun to plant the seeds of a potential looming retirement. As someone who has nearly cleaned out the welterweight division, “The Nigerian Nightmare” is beginning to demonstrate that, as time goes by, he has less and less to prove. This is part of what he attributes his callout of Jorge Masvidal to. Since there was no clear-cut #1 contender, he figured he may as well give Masvidal a redo to erase the six days’ notice narrative.
Kamaru Usman Hints At Potential Retirement After UFC 261
If Usman is able to scratch the Masvidal itch this weekend and then return to sifting through the shrinking list of potential opponents, the champion isn’t sure he will see any names that will motivate him. And without motivation, all aspects of one’s career are obviously impacted, from training preparation to the version of the fighter that ultimately shows up inside the cage.
In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, Usman admitted that he could see this becoming a reality that could lead him to potentially calling it a career more suddenly than any of us expected.
“Being a realist, and I’m honest with myself, and I know that I can’t do this forever, and I don’t want to do this forever,” Usman began. “Like I said, we’re on a track right now, and I’m just so far ahead of these guys that I’m coming back around and I’m lapping them now.
“Talking to some of my mentors and some of the greats that have done this, what they’re telling me is that, at some point, it’s gonna start to…that waking up in the morning and heading to the gym to put in daily work is gonna start to get heavier and heavier when nothing really motivates me like that anymore. So this one, like I said, I’m motivated because I didn’t feel like I got that fix. I still have that feeling in me. And so I want to go out there and get this one.
“But after this one, we have to really take a hard look and see what there is out there for me because it’s not these guys. So whether it’s crossing over and doing something else or maybe walking away, You never know.”
The thought of Usman walking away from the sport so suddenly may seem hard to believe, but it bears reminding that there were not one but two champions who retired unexpectedly last year following a successful title defense: Henry Cejudo and Khabib Nurmagomedov. In addition to being considered among the best wrestlers in the sport, Usman may add “sudden and early retirement” to the list of things he has in common with those two gentlemen.
However, despite Usman claiming that he is unsure of what would be next for him, Dana White sure sounds certain for what he’d have planned for the champion: a second consecutive rematch, this time against #1 contender Colby Covington. Should Usman lose to Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261, though, he would be the one looking to avenge a loss in a rematch. And once a man is in unfamiliar territory such as this, it’s always harder to walk away.
Would you be surprised if Kamaru Usman retired after defeating Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261?