Kamaru Usman is finding out just how difficult it is to be the champ.
There is a famous Shakespeare quote that says, “Uneasy is the head that wears a crown,” and UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman is finding this out firsthand.
Usman has been the welterweight champion since 2019 and has defended his title five times. He is now on the top of the UFC pound-for-pound rankings list, but the journey has not been an easy one. Earlier this year, Usman spoke to MMA Junkie about his championship reign and the difficulties that come along with being the champ.
“I would have to say, right now, (being champion) is not as easy as I thought it would be,” he said. “I always thought before, ’cause you know, you have to call somebody out, you have to do this, go back and forth, try to get this fight booked, and after a while, I don’t have to do any of that (now). But the responsibilities as a champion now are tremendous.”
Usman has been a very active champion since winning the belt. He fought three times in 2021 against top fighters. Following his last defense against Colby Covington at UFC 268 in New York City, Usman expressed his need for some time off. He spoke about wanting to spend time with family. He has done just that as Usman’s return date to the Octagon is not yet set, but even in his “time off” there are things that need to be done.
“I thought when you become a champion it’s smooth sailing from there, you can just get your fight, and that’s it,” he said. “No, cause you’re present, you’re responsible, you’re needed, everywhere. You’re needed at all times. And, not to mention I have a child, so I’m needed even more all the time. So, I would say, right now, as a champion, the responsibilities and the different things that come at you are the kind of ones I didn’t really expect and didn’t prepare for. But I’m dealing with them.”
Even when not actively fighting in the cage, a UFC champion has other duties, media obligations, and appearances. Usman also has sponsorships he must oblige to and is also involved in running a fight promotion in Nigeria.
In the midst of all of this, Usman has been looking to make his way to boxing and take on Canelo Alvarez. Usman has made it a point in keeping his plate full. After all, a UFC champion’s time on top is often limited.
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