Monday, August 15, 2022

Usman Has “Sights Set On” LHW After Edwards: ‘Jan, Jiří, Or Whoever’

UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman appears more serious than ever about jumping two weight classes to the light heavyweight division.

Usman has ruled over the 170-pound landscape since 2019, fending off five challenges since dethroning Tyron Woodley. Having had his hand raised four times across a pair of two-fight series’ with Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington, as well as stopping former teammate Gilbert Burns, “The Nigerian Nightmare” has added the names of most at the top of the division to his record.

With that, he’s set for another rematch, this time against longtime contender Leon Edwards. The pair are scheduled to headline UFC 278 next month in Utah, with Usman looking to add a sixth successful retention to his résumé.

While the likes of Khamzat Chimaev, Belal Muhammad, and Sean Brady represent fast-rising contenders yet to throw down with the champ, Usman has long had some of his attention directed elsewhere as his hopes to pursue two-division glory continue to develop.

With friend and fellow African titleholder Israel Adesanya occupying the throne at middleweight, Usman will need to make a sizable ascension to 205 pounds to compete for a second piece of gold.

Though he’s appeared willing for that venture down the line in the past, his latest comments are certainly the firmest yet, and even provided somewhat of a timeline for the move.

Usman Reiterates Desire To Prove P4P Greatness

After initially mentioning the prospect of a light heavyweight title challenge earlier this year, Usman clarified that his two-division aspirations came from his belief that he could defeat Jan Blachowicz, who held the belt until last October.

Now, it appears that Usman has gotten a pretty strong itch for a second title, no matter who he has to go through at 205 pounds.

In a recent interview with TMZ Sports, Usman noted that while he’s focused on the task at hand on August 20, his team will set their sights on the light heavyweight gold soon after, whether it’s current king Jiří Procházka or former titleholder Blachowicz in his way.

“We’re gonna go in there and we’re completely focused on Leon Edwards,” Usman said. “But after Leon Edwards, we have our sights set on (light heavyweight), whether it’s Jan or whether it’s Jiří, whoever it is, that’s what we want.

“I want to prove to the world that there’s a reason why they say pound-for-pound. That means pound-for-pound at any given time, any given moment, any given weight, I can go in there and not only hold my own, I can be victorious. I wanna be able to prove that,” Usman concluded.

Usman may well need to add the name of Glover Teixeira to that equation. While it initially appeared that Procházka was targeting an all-European affair with Blachowicz for his first defense, the Czech champ recently released a video announcing his decision and, to the surprise of many, he’s opted to favor an immediate rematch with Teixeira.

How do you think Kamaru Usman would fare against the likes of Procházka, Blachowicz, and Teixeira?

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