Las Vegas, NV — Former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has been circling a fight with Khamzat Chimaev for a while now — and it’s still not a done deal.
Usman (20-3) has not competed since his second loss to Leon Edwards, who is expected to fight Colby Covington later this year. Appearing backstage at UFC 290 over the weekend, “The Nigerian Nightmare” gave his side of the story when it comes to the hold-up in getting the fight made.
“I went into Dana [White, UFC President]’s office and I said ‘hey, okay, this is the guy you guys are saying is the next guy in the division? Okay, give me that guy.’ I said that to Dana. At the end of the day, I have been and still am the boggie man of this division. If you want to fight, you want to be a champion, cut the f*cking weight and come and fight.”
That seems to be the sticking point, according to Usman — Chimaev doesn’t have the discipline to make 170lbs any longer.
“I asked for the fight. He’s saying he’s the boggie man of the division, and I think he’s a really really good fighter. Very very good fighter. I like the guy,” acknowledged Usman. “But hey, you want to fight, cut the weight and let’s fight. Be disciplined. He don’t want to do that anymore. He’s got money now, he’s loving the life, and he’s living good. He don’t want to cut the weight. He wants to eat, and he wants to move the goal post for him. No. You want to be champion, this is the gold standard right here. Cut the weight and let’s make it happen.”
Asked whether he’d be open to middleweight should the UFC approach him about fighting Chimaev there, the ex-champ was dismissive.
“Why would they approach me for 185? He’s ranked what, number three right, isn’t he? In what division? Welterweight. If you want to fight, let’s fight.”
Watch the full UFC 290 media appearance by Kamaru Usman above.