In many ways, UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has already cleared out most of the biggest challenges for him at 170 pounds.
While he just completed his first title defense at UFC 245 with a fifth-round TKO against Colby Covington, Usman has already defeated five of the top six contenders in the UFC rankings. He dominated former champion Tyron Woodley to win the belt and also holds lopsided victories against Rafael dos Anjos, Demian Maia and Leon Edwards.
The only person currently ranked in the top six who Usman hasn’t faced is Jorge Masvidal. That may end up being a potential opponent for him in 2020 but the reigning welterweight king has another idea in mind if asked about his dream scenario for the year ahead.
“Leon Edwards is doing well. He’s a guy who could be deserving of a shot. Masvidal, also another guy that could be deserving of a shot. Woodley, if he goes out and gets a couple more wins, he’s deserving of a shot, too,” Usman said when speaking to MMA Fighting on Friday.
“2020, the only thing that makes sense, I’m right there about to break the record for most consecutive wins [at welterweight] and I’m the champion. The guy that holds the record, the guy that’s just above me, is Georges St-Pierre. It’s only right that I break that record on Georges St-Pierre.”
St-Pierre, who is the longest reigning welterweight champion in UFC history, also holds the record for the most consecutive wins in the division with 12 in a row. His last fight in the division came in 2013 when he defeated Johny Hendricks to defend his title, which he later vacated before taking a four year sabbatical from the sport.
He returned in 2017 as a middleweight where he defeated Michael Bisping to become champion but St-Pierre then surrendered that title as well. He then retired from active competition in early 2019, but St-Pierre has left the door open on a potential return if the right opportunity came along.
Usman believes conquering one of St-Pierre’s coveted records would be more than enough to coax him out of retirement as he seeks to cement his own legacy as the greatest welterweight of all time.
“Think about that fight. Georges St-Pierre has the record, I’m coming for the record and in order for me to break the record, I fight him for the record,” Usman said. “I can’t think of a better way to get that record than to fight somebody like Georges.
“With all due respect, I’ve got a lot of respect for Georges. He’s the guy I watched coming into the sport. That’s a fight that a lot of guys dream of. Not just we’re going to get paid but I dream of that fight as a competitor. Competing against one of the best to ever do it. I think it would be a tremendous fight.”
Considering the way Usman has run roughshod over many of the top welterweight contenders already, calling for a fight against St-Pierre might not be a bad idea.
There’s no guarantee St-Pierre would acquiesce with his request but Usman feels like that would be the kind of challenge the former two-division champion should at least entertain.
“It’s a fight that makes sense,” Usman stated. “Let’s be honest, people are talking about a lot of these different fights. Conor [McGregor] — Conor doesn’t even really make sense. Sure, if he comes in the division and beats someone pretty high up there and really makes the case for himself that he can really handle himself in the division, then absolutely I would entertain that fight.
“But GSP, that’s a fight that makes sense. A champion, didn’t lose his belt, and comes back for his belt and to extend his record, which I’m on the heels of. Who wouldn’t want to see that? That’s a fight that actually makes sense. I would say that’s No. 1.”
According to Usman, he’s going to take a little time off to heal up some injuries including a left hand that was damaged in the early rounds during his win over Covington.
He’s currently targeting a return to action in mid-2020 once he’s fully healed and “The Nigerian Nightmare” couldn’t imagine a better scenario than welcoming St-Pierre back to the Octagon with a chance to regain the title he never actually lost.
“A fight with Georges St-Pierre, I think that would speak volumes for itself,” Usman said. “I’m looking to fight two times if not three in 2020. If the opportunities present themselves, I would try to be ready for those opportunities. [If] Georges comes in, giving me that opportunity to break the record fighting him would be tremendous.”