- Kamaru Usman talked about Khamzat Chimaev possibly getting a shot at the title
- The reigning welterweight champion even gave ‘Borz’ some advice.
- He recaps Chimaev’s win over Gilbert Burns
UFC fans have been waiting for the return of Kamaru Usman. At this point, there are a lot of names in front of him, including Khamzat Chimaev and Conor McGregor. Finally, the champion has spoken.
“If that’s the fight, that’s the fight”
Chimaev faced his toughest opponent in Gilbert Burns at UFC 273 but still managed to secure the W. Now that “Borz” has broken into the top five, some believe that he already deserves a crack at UFC gold.
Aside from Chimaev, former UFC two-division king Conor McGregor has also called him out.
For Usman, it’s not job to decide who the rightful next title challenger is. However, he also admitted that Leon Edwards is what he’s looking at at the moment.
“It’s very difficult for me to say ‘no, he doesn’t deserve anything’…If that’s the fight, that’s the fight,” Usman told TMZ Sports. “If that’s not the fight, that’s not the fight. Right now, we’ve kind of got Leon Edwards sitting there you got the other loudmouth little kid, the Irish guy on the side running his mouth. That guy [McGregor].”
“You forget [McGregor],” he added. “This is why you forget because this guy is not relevant. He hasn’t done anything in the sport as of late so in order for him to be relevant, he has to try to attach his name to someone who is relevant. But this kid [Chimaev] has done a good job going out there and defeating the #2 guy in the division. So, yeah, if that’s the next fight after Edwards, then that’s the next fight. But, Edwards is our focus right now.”
Advice for Chimaev
Usman also spoke candidly about Chimaev’s rise to fame and controversial win over Burns. According to “The Nigerian Nightmare,” he gives “Borz” the props for beating a world-class fighter like Burns.
However, Usman also stressed that the media has hyped Chimaev to an extent leading up to the fight and since he wasn’t able to finish Burns, it kind of “dropped” him.
For the pound-for-pound king, it’s not too late for Chimaev to ditch the hype and just focus on getting better.
“I’ve always said it. What sets me apart is my brain, my intelligence, that’s what sets me apart from a lot guys,” Usman pointed out. “Gilbert is very very tough fighter and he showed that. He still has a lot left, he’s not done and he’s still at the top of the division. And Khamzat coming in, he’s done a great job. Props to the kid, he’s done a great job with what he’s been presented and the opposition. I take nothing away from him and I think it’s the media’s fault…they kind of builds you up and then they drop you the moment you don’t live up to that.”
“If I had a word of advice to him [Chimaev] it’s just to not get caught up in that because it kind of seemed like that is starting to happen. Not everyday is your day. Someone’s gonna come in and it’s gonna be their day.”
Usman is still nursing a hand injury but a wide array of potential title contenders are already lining up. Aside from Chimaev and McGregor, Colby Covington has also demanded a trilogy fight following his recent win over Jorge Masvidal.