On Saturday, Kamaru Usman made the first successful defense of his UFC welterweight title, stopping rival Colby Covington in the fifth round of the main event at UFC 245. It was an impressive showing from Usman, and one that finally lets him move past Covington and onto the business of the rest of the 170-pound division. But who will be next for the current champion?
In the immediate aftermath of UFC 245, Usman threw out Leon Edwards as a potential opponent and most fans assumed Jorge Masvidal will be next in line for Usman, but “The Nigerian Nightmare” has another idea, or perhaps, a dream.
“Honestly, I’m an equal opportunity guy. I don’t really care who it is. If I had to choose, of course I wants Georges [St-Pierre],” Usman told TMZ Sports recently. “I want GSP. One more win and I tie him for most consecutive wins [in the welterweight division] and how sweet would that be to actually get that win off of him?
“That would be an extremely exciting fight because I think we are the two hybrids of the welterweight division. Since the welterweight division has been going on, I think he and I are the two hybrids. When he came on the scene, he could do it all - systematically break guys down to make the fight look easy. I just think that I’m a better level of that. I’ve got the power, I’ve got the cardio, I’ve got the strength, I’ve got the speed. So I think it’s a big, big, big fight, and all due respect to Georges, but I think I finish him.”
This is nothing new for the welterweight division. As the consensus greatest welterweight of all time and one of the sport’s biggest stars, St-Pierre has long been the target of callouts from the fighting elite. Even when he was nominally retired, Tyron Woodley’s first order of business after claiming the 170-pound title was to call out St-Pierre. Unfortunately for Usman, St-Pierre is actually retired now and, even if he were to come back, GSP seemingly only has eyes for Khabib Nurmagomedov. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t possible money fights available for Usman. In fact, the biggest cash-cow in the sport, Conor McGregor, will be taking on Donald Cerrone at 170 pounds at UFC 246, and after watching UFC 245, made overtures that he was interested in the welterweight title as well.
145. 155. 170.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) December 15, 2019
But Usman is entirely dismissive of this, believing that McGregor would be biting off far more than he can chew by taking on a true 170-pounder.
“He must want to die,” said Usman. “I mean, what? He must want to die. This is not 145, 155. You saw what Khabib did to him. Like, oh my god, it wouldn’t even be fair if I fought Conor. So, much respect to Conor for what he’s done for this sport and transcended it but nah, this ain’t what you want. Just sit down little man, sit down. Learn to walk before you can run because I would hurt that guy.”
But though Usman seemingly has some interest in fighting St-Pierre or McGregor if the opportunity presents itself, he seems less interested in fighting the one big draw who he actually has a good chance of facing: Jorge Masvidal.
2019 was a banner year for Masvidal he rose to the top of the public consciousness and claimed the one-off BMF belt in a superfight with Nate Diaz. Most fans assume Masvidal would be the next guy in line to challenge for the welterweight title and that still may be the case but, curiously, Usman is pretty “meh” on the idea. Instead, it seems that Usman would rather double down on his idea of facing Edwards next.
“Eh. Who cares?” Usman said about fighting Masvidal. “Honestly, I’m being honest, if you talk about a guy who is deserving of a title shot, it’s Leon Edwards... He’s a guy who I know is tough, and I recognize his talents for sure.”
BMF. Owen Roddy: Win over Donald Cerrone at 170 could lead to Jorge Masvidal vs. Conor McGregor.
UFC 245 Coffee Talk.
All Maxcess: UFC 245.
Dana on boxing.
Khabib shutting down McGregor rematch.
The Co-Main Event. Discussing the important fallout from UFC 245.
Anik & Florian. Discussing UFC 245 and previewing UFC Busan.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Statement from the new consensus greatest featherweight of all time.
Mission accomplished!— Alex Volkanovski (@alexvolkanovski) December 17, 2019
This is for my family, team, sponsors, Australia and everyone who believed in me.
My promise to you all is that I will be a great champion...inside and outside of the Octagon. I’m proud the represent you all.
Beef. And beef that will serve as pretense to skip Yan for a title shot.
After I’m done with Raphael. I’ll come to Moscow to fight Peter!!! I love the Russians ❤️ https://t.co/Z6VG1kCFCE— Cody Garbrandt (@Cody_Nolove) December 15, 2019
We all know you are all talk. But welcome to Russia! Don’t forget about exchange ₽>$ https://t.co/dHPj9BJGJm— Petr “No Mercy” Yan (@PetrYanUFC) December 17, 2019
Conor wants more belts.
That belt is mine in 2020 motherbuddies!— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) December 16, 2019
Wonderboy will oblige.
Taking the loss.
Processing this weekend, I can take away alot of positives from the fight. This isn’t the first time I’ve tasted defeat. I will make the adjustments with my team and we will move forward. No injuries so best believe I’m guna be pushing for the @ufc Auckland 2020! #teamdontblink pic.twitter.com/MmPSMUDQA8— Kai Kara France (@kaikarafrance) December 17, 2019
Nicest Mofo is gonna be a hotly contested title.
Whaaat? I was gonna call somebody out for this. Lol dang, I was too slow. https://t.co/ldYjP5SBS6— Roxanne Modafferi (@Roxyfighter) December 17, 2019
Jon does not understand that a no-contest ends a winning streak.
Tony Ferguson with the Harlem Globetrotters.
“All The Sauce” # McNuggetMonday # Harlem Globetrotters # KeepItFunky Champ Shit Only™️ pic.twitter.com/dKZ2Tcc5uz— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) December 17, 2019
Boss Logic on the new champ.
Megan Anderson (10-4) vs. Norma Dumont (4-0); UFC UFC Norfolk, Feb. 29.
If Leon Edwards really does get the next title shot, Rafael dos Anjos will officially be the welterweight title gatekeeper. The only three men to beat him at 170 will have all earned title shots.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
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