UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is currently out of action following hernia surgery, so the welterweight title picture remains in limbo once again, with no firm date for Usman’s return or unquestioned #1 contender. But the division is as full of talent as it’s ever been, with names like former champion Tyron Woodley, former interim champion Colby Covington, resurging Jorge Masvidal, and streaking fighters like Santiago Ponzinibbio and Leon Edwards all working towards a title shot.
Of those contenders, Usman has already defeated Woodley and Edwards. Meanwhile, Covington and Masvidal seem to be in the best position to be Usman’s first challenger. But none of these names are whom Usman considers to be the biggest potential challenge for him in the welterweight division:
“I would say the toughest test might have to be maybe Robbie (Lawler), just because of the simple fact that I train with Robbie now,” Usman told MMA Junkie. “He knows me on the inside, and I know him. So I would say that that’s a different play on emotions to where the other guys, I’m a competitor, I’m going to train as hard as I can to come out and do what I do best, and that’s dominate the fight from start to finish.”
Next month at UFC on ESPN 5, Robbie Lawler may just make this matchup a reality should he get past #1 contender Colby Covington and jump the line. If Covington, Masvidal, or any other contender faces Usman, The Nigerian Nightmare will be instantly prepared, but for Robbie Lawler, Usman admits it gets a bit more complicated:
“I’m going to go in there, and I’m going to take care of business, but with Robbie I think it’s a little different element because I do train with him now, and so those feelings are there,” Usman said. “Everybody has their little tricks, things that they’re good at it. They possess a little bit of danger but at the end of the day, with everyone else, I’m a professional.”
How do you believe a fight between Kamaru Usman and Robbie Lawler would play out?