Monday, May 16, 2022

Usman On Why He Considered LHW Jump: “It’s Jan”

UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman has shed some more light on why he considered challenging for former light heavyweight king Jan Blachowicz‘s title.

Since ascending to the 170-pound mountaintop in 2019, an achievement that came through a dominant five-round performance against Tyron Woodley, Usman has firmly established himself as one of the most dominant champions in the UFC, in a one-on-one race for welterweight GOAT status, and arguably in the conversation for the greatest of all time, period.

Having beaten off two challenges each from Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal and finishing Gilbert Burns, “The Nigerian Nightmare” sits comfortably on the welterweight throne, but also with the pound-for-pound crown in his possession.

Looking to prove and demonstrate his P4P dominance, Usman recently revealed he’d considered jumping two divisions to light heavyweight to challenge Polish powerhouse Blachowicz, who, at the time, reigned over the 205-pound landscape.

Since that revelation, a number of contenders have given their thoughts on how Usman would fare in their home turf. While the upcoming title challenger Jiří Procházka suggested “The Nigerian Nightmare” would lack his usual speed and power, the rising Jamahal Hill told MMA News that Usman would be “tiny” for a light heavyweight.

Usman’s Two-Division Aspirations Derived From One Matchup

Now, as the discussion surrounding a potential pursuit of glory at a second weight continues, Usman has clarified his comments.

During an interview with CBS Sports, the welterweight titleholder explained that his desire to jump up to 205 pounds derived from his feelings towards a fight against Blachowicz, an opponent he believes he’d match up well with.

“I was very serious. I got some flak for it, and people were thinking, ‘Oh, no, he’s just saying this.’ No, I was very serious,” said Usman. “Because Israel Adesanya is the middleweight champion and Jan Blachowicz was the light heavyweight champion, I saw that matchup and I said, ‘Hey, that’s a fight that I can deal with. It’s Jan. 

“No disrespect to Jan. I think he’s a great competitor, he’s a very powerful guy, he’s got a lot of power in his hands, but I thought that was a matchup that favored me,” Usman added. “I thought if I had skipped the middleweight class, went up to light heavyweight, I definitely would be a champ-champ. But unfortunately, he’s no longer the champ, so I will stay put where I am, and we’ll have that conversation if it happens.”

With compatriot and friend Israel Adesanya on the middleweight throne, any push for champ-champ status would have to see Usman skip the 185-pound class.

However, with Blachowicz losing the gold to veteran Brazilian Glover Teixeira at UFC 267 last October, it remains to be seen whether or not Usman fancies his chances against light heavyweights beyond the recently-dethroned Blachowicz.

How do you think Kamaru Usman would have fared against then-champion Jan Blachowicz in 2021?

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