Adesanya and Usman are currently two of the most dominant champions in MMA’s premier promotion. The pair have enjoyed a similar rise up the ladder of their respective divisions, culminating in championship glory and multiple defenses.
“The Last Stylebender” has recorded two wins over top contender Robert Whittaker and defended his title against Paulo Costa, Yoel Romero, and Marvin Vettori. Meanwhile, “The Nigerian Nightmare” has seen off two challenges each from Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal, along with one from former teammate Gilbert Burns.
With nine defenses between them and limited remaining challengers to their individual reigns, many have suggested the next logical step is a blockbuster showdown between the two Nigerian compatriots.
(We also recently discussed another possible opponent for Israel Adesanya’s next fight).
But owing to their national connection and both men’s desire to avoid dethroning a fellow African titleholder, the matchup seems unlikely. Usman even recently claimed it would take a $100 million offer to force him into the Octagon with Adesanya.
Despite that, Usman’s manager, Dominance MMA Management CEO Abdelaziz, is still harboring hope of it coming together. He’s even suggested that if the pair are “real brothers,” they’d agree to make each other some money by sharing the cage.
Adesanya To Abdelaziz: Are You My Brother?
It’s safe to say Abdelaziz’s comments haven’t gone down well with the reigning middleweight king…
During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Adesanya responded to the suggestion he and Usman should ditch their allegiance in the name of money-making.
“The Last Stylebender” slammed Abdelaziz’s view as “disgusting,” and suggested Usman’s manager wouldn’t push for the superfight if he really was a fellow “African brother.”
“The way [Abdelaziz] did it was just disgusting. I usually express that the way we do it in our gym and the code that we have,” said Adesanya. “And like I said, me and Kamaru definitely feel the same way. What’s the point? This is bigger than us. Kids are gonna look at us generations from now and be like, ‘Those guys from Nigeria, they did that. They ruled this whole thing till they left, and they left on top’—same with Francis as well.
“[Abdelaziz] always comes up to me, ‘My brother, African brother!’ this and that. So I’m like, if you’re supposed to be a brother brother, why you trying to be selfish now and look at the dollar signs?” Adesanya concluded.
Given Adesanya’s reaction, it seems it would take a spectacular falling out in order to make him share the Octagon with Usman. With that said, it appears both men will have to look to light heavyweight if they’re to achieve two-division success.
While the Nigerian-New Zealander has already failed in that quest once, his manager Eugene Bareman recently hinted that another attempt could be on the cards if his man can get past Jared Cannonier later this year.
Meanwhile, “The Nigerian Nightmare” recently revealed he’d considered moving up to 205 pounds to challenge Jan Blachowicz when the Polish Powerhouse sat on the throne. It remains to be seen if the 170-pound titleholder will ever consider that jump again.
How do you think a fight between Israel Adesanya and Kamaru Usman would play out?