Kamaru Usman More Than Ready To Be The ‘Clean Up Guy’ If Required At UFC 228
UFC 228 goes down in just two weeks time and like many of the recent UFC main events, there’s a backup plan if things go wrong during fight week.
Darren Till is scheduled to take on Tyron Woodley in the main event in Dallas, Texas, but the UFC don’t appear to be leaving anything to chance and Kamaru Usman has made it widely known that he is the insurance plan should things go array.
Speaking this week on the UFC Unfiltered podcast, Usman explained the situation and made it clear that he wasn’t wishing ill on either Woodley or Till prior to fight night. Should the opportunity arise though, the “Nigerian Nightmare” says he will be more than ready to step up to the plate.
“Right now I’m training for Sept. 8 in Dallas, Texas, that is for the welterweight title if something happens to go wrong,” Usman said. “I’m definitely not wishing this on anybody and I don’t wish somebody doesn’t make it to the fight, but I’m preparing just in case somebody doesn’t make it to the fight because those type of things happen in this sport.
“If Darren Till is unable to make weight or get to the fight or whatever else, I will be stepping in to face Tyron Woodley and vice versa. I hope those guys are healthy are able to step in, but essentially I’m the backup plan. I’m the clean up guy.”
Should Till be unable to compete, Usman says he will step directly into a UFC welterweight title fight. Should Woodley be the one unable to make it to the Octagon though, Usman isn’t totally sure whether it will still be a title fight not.
“I don’t know what they would call it,” Usman said. “If they want to put interim titles around, I don’t mind that. It doesn’t matter. I don’t know what it would be. It doesn’t matter.
“Bottom line is I’m preparing for both guys if anything happens. Preferably I would rather fight Woodley that night than Till, but it doesn’t matter to me. Both are big fights and both are the fights that I want, they are the fights that make sense for me. Either one of those fights.”
Whilst Usman is more than ready to step in, he’s well aware that he’s only the backup plan. Should the original fight take place, Usman believes Till’s back is against the wall given the weight cut he will have to endure.
“It’s tough, but if Darren Till is able to make weight that fast, I think that’s going to be hard because he’s going to be sucked down,” Usman said. “He’s a big kid and nothing negative about him at all, but he’s a big guy and he’s sill growing. Sucking down that much is going to effect you in a five round fight and you’re fighting the champion that has fought nothing but five round fights in his last four or five fights.
“It’s going to be tough for him [Till] to pull it off, but he’s got a deadly left hand and he’s very good with distance so if he can land something, he could potentially finish that fight. I’m not going to pick a winner. I just want to see a good fight.”
Whether plans stay or fall apart, Usman says he will be ready for any scenario. Should he get the opportunity he’s been craving, the Nigerian says the night will end with UFC gold being strapped around his waist.
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“It doesn’t matter who it is and it doesn’t matter what style they fight; I’m a fighter and I can fight anytime, anyone, anywhere,” Usman said. “I’m just training to do what I do best and that’s impose my will on anybody. On Sept. 8, if God’s will and that’s the plan, then Sept. 8 I will be the new champion.”