Kamaru Usman has said he won’t move up to middleweight to pursue champ-champ status due to his relationship with Israel Adesanya, yet that might change.
With Adesnaya set to rematch Vettori in the main event of UFC 263 on June 12, Usman says if the Italian wins, he would consider the move up in weight to try and become a champ-champ.
“With the whole Marvin and Israel situation, I don’t necessarily want to think about that,” Usman said to ESPN. “I’m 100 percent behind Izzy and I think he can pull it out. I love Marvin as well but I think Izzy can pull that one out. He’s done it before and I think he can and I think he will. But if there was a case to where I would actually go up and challenge for that belt it would be without Izzy being in the picture. So if Izzy’s not champ, then it’s something I could take a look at.”
Usman and Adesanya have been vocal about not fighting one another because they want as many African champions in the UFC as possible. However, many hope the two would fight because it would be an interesting clash of styles as Usman is the better wrestler, but Adesanya is a terrific striker.
If Vettori does end up beating Adesanya, a fight against Usman does make some sense if an immediate rematch doesn’t happen. Usman is running out of contenders at welterweight and many would like to see him move up in weight to try and add to his legacy and get new challenges. A fight against Vettori would be intriguing due to the fact the Italian is also a good wrestler and would be bigger than Usman so he could stuff the takedown attempts of the current welterweight champion.
Kamaru Usman is coming off a KO win over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261 and is looking to return soon. Yet, August appears to be the first date available.
Cole Shelton covers MMA for BJPenn.com, MMANews, and MyMMANews.com while also being the lead MMA odds writer for Sports Betting Dime