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Kamaru Usman to serve as official backup for UFC 228 main event, ‘dreamt’ this is how he becomes champion

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Kamaru Usman has dreamt that he became the UFC’s welterweight champion after serving as a replacement for a title fight.

It just so happens that “The Nigerian Nightmare” will be playing such a role at UFC 228 in Dallas, where Darren Till is set to challenge Tyron Woodley for his welterweight championship belt.

On the latest episode of The MMA Hour, Usman told Luke Thomas that he would have been on weight for the Sept. 8 title tussle whether the UFC had officially reached out to him or not.

“It wasn’t really a selection process; I believe I was the rightful guy to be fighting for the belt in the first place,” said Usman.

“I was already training before they announced the fight,” he continued. “I was already going to make weight regardless of whether they called of not. It was going to be in Dallas, my hometown — that’s my fight. That’s a perfect fight for me.

“So, I was already in training and fortunately [the UFC] was like, ‘Hey, we want you on standby’. I was going to do that anyway, they didn’t have to tell me. I was going to be there on weight whether they compensated me to be there or not. I was going to do that for free because that was my shot.”

Usman underlined his hopes that neither Woodley or Till encounter any difficulties trying to make the welterweight limit. With that being said, he also revealed that he has dreamt that he won the title after stepping in on short notice.

“If Darren Till is able to make weight, more power to him, I want him to be able to make weight and get his shot. And if everything is fine with Tyron, more power to him. But in my dreams I dreamt this was the process of how I become champion.

“Nothing changes for me,” Usman said of his preparation. “The only difference is with the scheduled bout, there’s a little less of that pressure, a little less of that anxiety that you feel. Once you have an opponent in your mind that you’re preparing for, you’re working on specifics and you get guys in to mimic what they do. This is different where I don’t have to do that. I’m just training hard, doing the things I’m good at and kind of, in a roundabout way, doing some mimicking things of what these guys are good at. It’s a little less stress, I kind of prefer it this way.”

The title is inevitably what Usman wants. For that reason, Woodley would be his preference of counterpart should an opportunity arise in Dallas. Yet, when considering the duo as just opponents with no championship stakes, Usman revealed he would prefer to fight Till.

“If it was just as opponents, of course I would rather [fight] Till. Till is a bigger guy, right now he’s got the wave, he’s got the whole country behind him. He’s that face guy that the UFC is really behind and they’re really trying to push. So, yeah, I’d want Till, for sure, absolutely,” he said. “Plus, he hasn’t really been tested. Everyone wants to see that ground game tested. I want to test that, I want to see what he possesses down there when he’s put on his back.”