UFC welterweight king Kamaru Usman reveals he is open to moving up to fight in the middleweight division – but only if close friend Israel Adesanya is no longer champion because he wants ‘two Africans with belts’
- Kamaru Usman has revealed he would be interested moving up to middleweight
- The news comes after Usman beat Gilbert Burns in the third round at UFC 258
- However, he claims he ‘would never entertain going up to fight’ Israel Adesanya
- He says he would rather ‘two African’s held belts than one African with two belts’
UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has revealed he would be interested moving up to the middleweight division, but only if his friend Israel Adesanya was no longer champion.
Usman says he would ‘absolutely’ consider stepping up to 185 pounds after he beat Gilbert Burns with punches 34 seconds into the third round at UFC 258 – taking his record to 18-1, defending his title for the third time, and breaking Georges St Pierre’s consecutive welterweight victories record in the process.
However, the Nigerian-born Texan has admitted the move is dependent on Adesanya as he ‘would never entertain going up to fight Izzy’ and claims he would rather ‘two African’s held belts than one African with two belts’.
UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (R) has revealed he would be interested moving up to middleweight, but only if his friend Israel Adesanya (L) was no longer champion
The Nigerian Nightmare – who is set for welterweight rematches against Jorge Masvidal, Colby Covington, and Leon Edwards – has said he would consider the step up if Adesanya says he wants ‘nothing to do with’ the middleweight anymore.
He told ESPN: ‘Absolutely, absolutely. If Izzy’s willing to move up – well he is moving up, but if he’s willing to give up that 185 belt and says “I have nothing to do with that anymore,” then absolutely I would entertain that thought.’
The news comes after Usman (middle) beat Gilbert Burns (right) in the third round at UFC 258
Usman was knocked down early in the fight before sealing the victory with punches in the third
Usman and Adesanya have been regarded as two of the most dominant champions in the UFC at present, but neither of them will lay a glove on each other due to a long standing friendship.
However, it is likely that Adesanya will step up a weight class to fight Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight title.
Should he be successful, he may vacate his middleweight title in the future and give Usman the opportunity to challenge for the 185 pound belt.
But, If Adesanya chooses to keep hold of both his belts, Usman has made it clear he will not ‘even entertain’ the idea of moving up a weight category to challenge his friend.
Adesanya will step up a weight class to fight Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight title
Usman said: ‘On no account right now would I ever entertain going up to fight Izzy. That’s just not something that I’m interested in.
‘I’ve stated over and over before, I’d rather two Africans with belts as opposed to one African with two belts.
‘After March, it’s gonna be three Africans with four belts. It’s a good time to be an African.’
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