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Kamaru Usman: Darren Till reminds me of ‘Anthony Johnson continuously trying to make 170’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Serving as a replacement for UFC 228’s welterweight title matchup, Kamaru Usman is adamant that he is prepared for both champion, Tyron Woodley, and challenger, Darren Till.

With that being said, he knows that one of the fighters is more likely to be withdrawn from the fight due to trouble hitting the 170-pound mark.

“For Woodley, it’s not about making the weight, that’s not the issue. He was a wrestler; it’s not about making the weight. If Woodley doesn’t fight it’s about something else. That’s the only reason Woodley is out,” Usman told Luke Thomas on the latest episode of The MMA Hour.

“With Darren Till, he’s shown that it’s a weight issue. He’s a big guy. It’s not his fault, he’s growing, he’s a human being — he’s a big guy. With Till, it could be a weight issue and it could be something else.

“That’s how I think of those guys. With Woodley, weight’s not going to be an issue, it’ll be something else. With Till it could be a number of things. I’m ready for either one of them. And I’m ready if nothing happens and I make weight. I did it in college every weekend for free.”

Usman finds it hard to believe that Till won’t have trouble making weight for his U.S. debut after failing to come in under the welterweight limit in his hometown.

“With that Stephen Thompson fight, [Till] was given ample amount of time. He knew about that awhile. He was training and training and they were basically just trying to get ‘Wonderboy’ to take the fight and fly where they were fighting. You had ample amount of time, you didn’t have to travel, you were in your hometown, you slept in you bed and things still got in the way of you making that weight. Now when you don’t have ample amount of time, you have 48 days to train and get down to weight…I saw him in Vegas he’s a big guy, a really big guy,” he said.

“Now it’s 48 days to make weight and you have to travel to America. It makes it a lot more difficult.”

“The Nigerian Nightmare” went on to compare Till to Anthony Johnson, a fighter that competed as a heavyweight after initially campaigning in the UFC as a welterweight.

“For [Till] it’s especially tough,” said Usman. “What it reminds me of is Anthony Johnson continuously trying to make 170 back in the day. This was the same struggle and I bet it’s the same for him.”