Thursday, August 18, 2022

Usman: It’s My Job To Prove Chimaev Isn’t The Guy To Beat Me

UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman is welcoming the future challenge of Khamzat Chimaev, hinting that it could be a legacy-defining matchup.

Since ascending the 170-pound mountain in 2019, Usman has developed a reign worthy of leaving him in divisional GOAT contention in the eyes of many. Having already faced and defeated both Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal twice each, “The Nigerian Nightmare” is set for yet another rematch next month at UFC 278, this time against Leon Edwards.

But despite that, he’s not without potential fresh challengers, with a certain Chechen-born Swede lurking close by.

In just four Octagon appearances, Chimaev has torn through his competition to rise into the rankings and added the name of former title challenger Gilbert Burns to his résumé. His victory over “Durinho” at UFC 273 secured him a place inside the welterweight top five.

But while there’s long been a narrative surrounding the perceived ‘ducking’ of Chimaev as he’s risen the ranks, the throne-occupier isn’t shying away from the challenge of “Borz.”

Usman: ‘Chimaev Is To Me What Pacquiao Was To Mayweather’

During a recent interview with TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter, Usman was asked whether he shares the excitement of those fans looking forward to seeing him tested against the undefeated Chimaev, who has finished 10 of his 11 opponents.

Having been on a run of rematches as of late, a trend that is set to continue in Utah on August 20, the welterweight king admitted that fresh blood is a welcome relief. He also noted that many are pointing to “Borz” as the one who can end his reign, much like boxing fans did prior to Manny Pacquiao’s attempt to add the first blemish to Floyd Mayweather’s record in 2015.

But like “Money” did against the Filipino, Usman will look to prove that Chimaev is not the guy to end his rule if they share the Octagon down the line.

“Of course. It’s great,” Usman said. “I mean, when you’ve beaten guys once, twice over and now you’re looking at potentially fighting them for a third time, yes, it’s always great to have someone sneak in there and kinda shake things up a little bit that gives you that extra name value, namesake, the one that people really think that, ‘Yeah, that’s the guy! That’s the one that’s gonna go in there and do it.’ That means a lot, and that’s great.

“And I mean, we’re talking Floyd [Mayweather] and [Manny] Pacquiao here. Floyd’s destroying everybody and everyone’s like, ‘Pacquiao! That’s the guy. That’s the guy that’s gonna do it.’ And the same situation here. I love the fact that people are thinking, ‘Yeah, that’s the guy that could potentially do it,” Usman continued. “But it’s my job as the champion, so each and every time I step in there, go out there and prove them all wrong, and hold that belt for as long as I can. And when I’m ready to walk away, I walk away.”

Before looking ahead to that matchup, though, Usman must defend his belt for a sixth time by adding the name of Edwards to his record for the second time. Should he accomplish that, and decide against an unheralded move up to light heavyweight, perhaps Chimaev will have his chance to shine.

If they collide down the line, how do you think a fight between Kamaru Usman and Khamzat Chimaev will play out?

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