Since 2019, Usman has ruled over the 170-pound weight class, batting aside two challenges apiece from Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington, as well as one from former teammate Gilbert Burns. His sixth defense is set to come next month at UFC 278, when he’ll meet former opponent Leon Edwards in Utah.
As his reign has continued, Usman has begun looking at possible ventures elsewhere. With fellow African champ and friend Israel Adesanya possessing the gold at middleweight, “The Nigerian Nightmare” has pondered a potential light heavyweight move.
While he’d previously suggested that was solely due to the presence of Jan Blachowicz on the throne last year, Usman has brought talk of a 205-pound move back to the surface in recent days.
As well as facing off with former titleholder Blachowicz backstage at UFC 276, Usman reiterated his champ-champ ambitions during a UFC 278 press conference.
Those aspirations have now received the seal of approval from the division’s newly-crowned champion.
Procházka ‘Likes The Challenge’ Of Potential Usman Bout
Jiří Procházka completed a memorable ascension to the top of the light heavyweight mountain at UFC 275 last month in what was just his third appearance inside the Octagon. After dispatching Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes via knockouts, “Denisa” challenged veteran Glover Teixeira in Singapore, taking the belt via a last-gasp submission.
And while he’s got plenty of options within the 205-pound roster, with Teixeira and Blachowicz seemingly vying for the spot opposite the Czech champ in his first defense, Procházka is also open to sharing the cage with his welterweight counterpart down the line.
During an interview with The Schmo, “Denisa” explained his willingness to face Usman as not only deriving from the intriguing “challenge” that it would present, but because he doesn’t believe in weight classes.
“We met on the fight night (UFC 276). I saw him, he’s a great fighter. Respect for him,” Procházka said. “If he wants to challenge the guys from light heavyweight, I think it will be not so easy how he thinks. First, I want to defend the title. Then I will be focused for this fun.
“Maybe (Usman after a defense), yeah. I like the challenge. I like to challenge myself, and this is good challenge because it’s another weight class,” Procházka continued. “I don’t believe in weight classes because every time, it’s just about the strongest man on the planet, and that’s where I’m looking for.”
While both men certainly have some challenges ahead in their respective divisions, including the likes of Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev for Procházka, and Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev for Usman, perhaps successes over those names will lead to a collision course down the line.
How do you think a fight between Jiří Procházka and Kamaru Usman would play out?