Sunday, September 25, 2022

White Responds To Usman’s LHW Ambitions: “That’s Crazy”

UFC President Dana White was not enthusiastic after hearing about reigning welterweight king Kamaru Usman‘s light heavyweight ambitions.

Usman has ruled over the 170-pound weight class since dethroning Tyron Woodley in 2019. During his reign, “The Nigerian Nightmare” has turned down two challenges each from Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal, as well as one from former training partner Gilbert Burns.

With that dominance in mind, Usman is casting one eye to other ventures that he can explore to help secure the legacy and respect he is after in the sport, and that includes the often-sought champ-champ status.

But although a middleweight challenge makes the most sense on paper, the presence of his friend and fellow African titleholder Israel Adesanya atop the mountain makes that a no-go for Usman until “The Last Stylebender” drops the gold.

For that reason, Usman is pondering a sizeable and unheard-of step up to 205 pounds. While that initial desire, first mentioned earlier this year, appeared to be rooted solely from the belief that he could defeat former champ Jan Blachowicz, Usman has since suggested that he’s targeting the light heavyweight gold no matter who it’s in the possession of.

Unfortunately for the welterweight titleholder, perhaps the one man whom he needs to convince doesn’t appear to be onboard…

White Brands Usman’s LHW Goal A “Bad Idea”

During a recent interview with MMA Underground’s John Morgan, White’s attention was turned to Usman’s two-division intentions.

After assessing the landscape at light heavyweight, which currently features a host of top names below newly crowned champion Jiří Procházka, White came to the conclusion that such a big jump wouldn’t be wise, especially given the challenges that would exist just one weight class above Usman’s current stomping ground.

“That’s crazy. Yeah, that’s crazy. He’s never said that to me,” White said. “But, I mean, when you look at those guys, you’re looking at, you know, Procházka, Glover (Teixeira), Jan, Magomed (Ankalaev). I mean, these guys are f*cking monsters. Yeah, I think that’s a bad idea.

“I mean, the guys at middleweight are big. When you start talking about, you know, (Jared) Cannonier, (Robert) Whittaker, (Marvin) Vettori… Those are scary guys at that weight,” White added. “(Alex) Pereira. You got a guy like Brunson who could wrestle, too. Tough one.”

Before focusing too much on acquiring champ-champ status and potentially convincing White of the merits behind a light heavyweight challenge, Usman has a sixth title defense to record this weekend in Salt Lake City, where he’ll run it back with Leon Edwards in the UFC 278 main event.

Do you agree with Dana White? Would a light heavyweight move be a “bad idea” for Kamaru Usman?

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