Usman, who dethroned Tyron Woodley in 2019 and has since defended the title five times, secured his place atop the UFC’s male pound-for-pound mountain in 2021 after a period of dominance that saw him defeat Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal (twice), and Gilbert Burns. He further cemented his #1 position with a second victory over “Chaos” last November.
With the hope of proving his P4P superiority, “The Nigerian Nightmare” has considered pursuing gold in a second weight class. But with friend and compatriot Israel Adesanya ruling over the middleweights, light heavyweight was his target.
In an interview with MMA News, rising 205-pound contender “Sweet Dreams” Hill gave his thoughts on the potential arrival of Usman in his weight class, as well as his upcoming clash with Johnny Walker on February 19, and the UFC 274 title fight between champion Glover Teixeira and the #2-ranked Jiří Procházka.
Hill: “Come On In”
Usman’s consideration for two-division glory came while Polish powerhouse Jan Blachowicz was at the top of the food chain. Despite the 38-year-old’s size and emphatic shutdown of Adesanya’s own desire for double champ status last March, the welterweight titleholder fancied his chances.
But just like top contender Procházka, Hill doesn’t like Usman’s odds. The #12-ranked light heavyweight told MMA News that while “The Nigerian Nightmare” may be big for 170 pounds, he’d be “tiny” for 205. Nevertheless, he invited Usman to come and mix it up with the “big boys.”
“Seems like he’s picking and choosing where you wanna fight, picking and choosing which champion you wanna fight,” Hill said to James Lynch. “You’re skipping over a whole weight class just because he’s (Israel Adesanya) your boy and shit, which is cool, I get it. But I don’t know, what am I supposed to think about it?
“He’s small. Don’t get me wrong, welterweight he’s a big dude. But for 205? He’s fucking tiny. Anybody that feel like they wanna come play with the big boys can come on in.”
With his lap back around his previously beaten foes set to continue this year with a defense against Leon Edwards, Usman has certainly cleared out a hefty portion of his challenges at welterweight. With that said, a push for a fresh challenge at a new weight class seems likely.
With his clear reluctance to share the Octagon with “The Last Stylebender,” a venture to light heavyweight could be a viable option for Usman in the near future.
How do you think Kamaru Usman would fare at light heavyweight?