Sunday, October 2, 2022

Kamaru Usman On Next Welterweight Title Defense: “Why Not Chiesa?”

UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman believes that Michael Chiesa is as deserving of a world title shot as any of the other names available in the division.

After defeating Gilbert Burns in the UFC 258 main event, Kamaru Usman was eager to step right back into the Octagon to scratch his competitive itch and rub out Jorge Masvidal and his six days’ notice “excuse” once and for all. And that’s exactly what he did. Usman was able to finish Masvidal as he said he would, bringing definitive closure to that chapter of his career. This, according to Dana White and the common observer, set up another rematch for The Nigerian Nightmare, this time against none other than Colby “Chaos” Covington.

Kamaru Usman has other ideas, though. He believes that Covington is unworthy of a title shot, in short because he has had more fights within three years as a champion as Covington has had as a contender. If you exclude Covington’s title fight against Usman at UFC 245, then Usman’s math would be correct.

Contrast that with Michael Chiesa, who is on a four-fight win streak and is willing to accept fights offered to him, and Usman believes that the #6-ranked Chiesa is the more deserving of the two.

Team Usman Sold On Michael Chiesa As Next Opponent

Last weekend, Usman’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, stated that Usman wanted to fight again as early as UFC 262 next month and that he preferred the fight to be against Michael Chiesa. In an interview with ESPN this week, we heard it straight from the horse’s mouth.

“Why not? Why not stay active?” Usman asked. “And as you can tell, I’ve fought three fights in the last nine months to where some guys haven’t fought three fights in three years. So I’m just trying to stay there. 

Michael Chiesa feels
Michael Chiesa, Image Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

“Wednesday, I’m like, ‘Hey, Ali, so who’s available? If anyone’s available, let’s do it.’ So I’m going down the roster, and I’m looking at the guys that are available and, of course, the guys that (are on) a win streak. And it’s Edwards and Chiesa. These are the guys that have long winning streaks…and Luque, of course. These guys are active. They want to be active. So why not? The other guys are kinda tied up with fights or certain guys are sitting around waiting, thinking that I’m just gonna call their number. So why not Chiesa?”

As sound as Usman’s argument may be to some, he’s going to have to sell the idea to Dana White and the UFC matchmakers, who have already settled on Covington as the next title challenger. Fighting Jorge Masvidal again in an immediate rematch was a tough sell, too, but the Usman camp was able to persuade the UFC to move forward with that idea.

Then again, it’s fair to say that Michael Chiesa isn’t exactly the same-level draw as Jorge Masvidal, which is unquestionably one of the factors behind the UFC acquiescing to Usman’s wishes last time. We’ll see if the UFC brass gives Usman what he wants again or if the promotion makes a hard stance on the Usman/Covington rematch instead.

Did Kamaru Usman convince you that a quick-turnaround title defense against Michael Chiesa makes sense?

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