An Usman vs. Diaz showdown isn’t to be expected not because Usman would be unwilling to defend the welterweight title against Diaz if both men emerge victorious in their upcoming bouts. On the contrary, the welterweight champion simply doesn’t think Diaz would be willing to fight him, even if the opportunity was presented to him. In an ESPN interview released Thursday, Usman explained why he feels that way.
“According to me? Absolutely. You know me. I don’t shy away from any challenge,” Usman began when asked about a potential title fight against Nate Diaz. “I’ll take on anybody. But according to him? I think that’s the second case to where a fighter says flat out, ‘You know what? I don’t even want a title shot. I’m good.”
The first time? That would be Conor McGregor. Usman recalls the instance last year when McGregor teased moving up to welterweight to be the first UFC fighter to win the world title in three separate divisions. “The Nigerian Nightmare” gave McGregor the opportunity to realize this dream, but no response was ever provided from The Notorious One. Usman can see the same thing happening with Nate Diaz, who has dismissed Usman as a potential opponent in the past.
“I’ve offered it to Conor when was running his mouth that the third belt looked great to him and this and that. And I said, ‘Yo… I’m here. I’m available. What date do you want to do it?’ But he was quiet. He didn’t respond. So that’s the first case where a guy’s just like, ‘You know what? I don’t want none of those problems. I don’t want to do it.’ And I think this will probably be the second case. If he was able to get that win, yeah, I think he will definitely be turning down my title shot.”
One person who most certainly would not be turning down a title should would be Leon Edwards, who will be facing Diaz in the first-ever five-round co-main event at UFC 262. As for Diaz, a fight against Usman would be his second world title shot in the UFC and his first in the welterweight division. Diaz challenged Benson Henderson for the lightweight title in 2012 and lost via unanimous decision.
Kamaru Usman’s next title defense will be against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261 in less than two weeks on April 24.
Do you agree with Kamaru Usman? Would Nate Diaz turn down a title fight if it would be against him?