UFC champion Kamaru Usman explains what “ability” he needs for Khamzat Chimaev fight!

✔ "I don't know if I'm looking forward to it"

Kamaru Usman (20-1 MMA, 15-0 UFC) takes a potential matchup against Khamzat Chimaev (11-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) very seriously.

We’re entering exciting times for the welterweight division. At UFC 278 this weekend “The Nigerian Nightmare” Usman attempts his sixth consecutive title defence when he takes on Leon Edwards in a rematch seven years in the making. Just a few weeks later, “Borz” Khamzat headlines UFC 279 where he will lock horns with fan favourite Nate Diaz in the latter’s last contracted UFC fight. A title shot could be on the table for Khamzat with an impressive win over Nate, and challenging the number one ranked fighter pound-for-pound is something he is more than looking forward to; however, it all depends on how Usman vs. Edwards 2 plays out.

Khamzat has managed to become one of the organisation’s hottest prospects since his UFC debut in July 2020, racking up five consecutive octagon victories in two different divisions. Last time out he faced off against Gilbert Burns at UFC 273 in one of the most thrilling fights of the year. “Durinho” Burns proved to be a tougher opponent than expected, but Khamzat managed to clinch the victory in the third round and showed himself to be more than capable of hanging with the very top of the division.

UFC president Dana White believes that Khamzat has what it takes to become the sport’s next big superstar, following in Conor McGregor’s footsteps. If he is to reach the Irishman’s level, however, he first needs to win a title. Welterweight champion Usman thinks that Khamzat could be his next challenger, provided they both make it past their respective fights.

“Now there’s another guy that people are excited about,” Usman said of Khamzat during an interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “People are like, ‘That’s the guy, that’s the guy that’s gonna get you.’ That’s another moment that I have to be able to be graceful about, and cherish, knowing that I’m going to go into a chaotic situation again (if I fight Khamzat). But if I’m able to get through that one as well – that’s living; I lived.

“I don’t know if I’m looking forward to it,” Usman continued. “The Leon one is big to me, because I fight these guys – when I say I fight these guys, I fight their hearts. And after the fight – and Leon, now, has kinda gotten on a roll and he says certain things like, ‘No, it’s destiny, I’m gonna take the belt from the guy that beat me a long time ago.’ It strikes a nerve inside me – I’m awake.

Though Usman expects Khamzat to be a tough opponent, the thought of such a big fight – both in terms of legacy and the reaction from fans – excites and motivates him.

“Every camp is tough, I train just as difficult for every camp. And so that is still tough. And mentally I’m there – there might not be as much noise around it, but I’m still up. The Khamzat – if that fight does come about – I think I have to have the ability to not get wrapped up in what’s gonna happen. Because that’s where I’m emotional, but I don’t necessarily wanna fight emotional. And what makes me who I am, is being able to control my emotions. I’d be lying if I said, I won’t be getting up, you know, much more for that one.”


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