Kamaru Usman sees Khamzat Chimaev as logical next opponent, eyes fourth Leon Edwards fight
Kamaru Usman hopes a win over Khamzat Chimaev leads to a fourth fight with UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards.
Usman (20-3 MMA, 15-2 UFC) lost back-to-back fights against Edwards (21-3 MMA, 13-2 UFC), failing to regain his belt at UFC 286. His path back to the title could go through unbeaten Chimaev, which is a matchup that excites him.
Although Chimaev (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) is ranked No. 3 in the UFC’s welterweight standings, he’s eyeing middleweight for his next fight. If Usman has to fight Chimaev at 185 pounds, the former champion said he’s open to it.
“A fight with myself and Khamzat? Boom,” Usman told ESPN. “And if he (Edwards) keeps winning, I think that’s a fourth fight for sure. … I’m kind of in a place now where I’m having fun with it, so it’s like, what’s the biggest, (most fun), most intense fight that really makes me feel something? That’s a fight right there.
“He’s a fighter, and I’m a fighter at the end of the day. I fight these guys’ heart, not their weight. I’ve been able to deal with middleweights in the gym and sometimes light heavyweights in the gym. If he wants a shot at the welterweight strap, you kind of have to give a little bit and show I can get down here. If he’s able to do it, yeah potentially. And if it’s up at a weight, yeah potentially, as well.”
After taking out most of the top contenders during his welterweight title reign, Usman admits not too many fights currently entice him – but Chimaev would be one of them.
“There’s not a ton (of interesting) fights. I’m being honest with you,” Usman said. “That fight (Chimaev) is the No. 1 fight, biggest one out there that makes sense. That’s a pay-per-view in itself. ‘Wonderboy’ (Thompson) is the last guy from my era that I haven’t fought. We were kind of on this collision course and kind of kept missing each other. It’s an intriguing fight. It’s a crazy style to deal with.
“And it’s a crazy one, but Conor (McGregor) always said he wanted a third title. Didn’t he? When I was champion, you can’t just waltz up, skip everybody, and fight for the belt. You’ve got to at least show some legitimacy. And what’s better legitimacy than the No. 1 guy in the division? It makes sense.”
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