Kamaru Usman has seen plenty of crossovers between MMA and boxing lately, and now he wants his own chance to book a mega-fight against Canelo Alvarez.
While the reigning UFC welterweight champion has hinted as interest in facing Canelo in the past, he’s become much more serious about the idea as he approaches a rematch against Colby Covington at UFC 268.
With a string of potential rematches likely awaiting him at the top of the 170-pound division in the UFC, Usman would like to face a greater challenge, and he can’t think of anything much better than taking on the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world right now.
“Talk about legacy, look what I’ve done to this point,” Usman said ahead of UFC 268. “When I’m done and I walk away, guys are going to look back and say, ‘Wow, he was special.’ Just like we’ve done with some of the greats. So if I’m looking at legacy, I want to do something that’s never been done before. These guys don’t really scare me anymore.
“Of course, there is the fear of myself and not competing and not looking the way that I want to look but what scares me is since when have we ever seen pound-for-pound in both combat sports [fight in] their prime? We’ve never seen that. Wouldn’t the world love to see that? I know I would.”
What intrigues Usman so much about facing Alvarez right now is largely thanks to the way they’ve both essentially wiped out every opponent put in front of them, which raises the stock on a crossover fight between the UFC’s best and boxing’s golden boy.
As he approaches his next title defense on Saturday night, Usman admits that there’s not all that much left for him to accomplish in the UFC, but a showdown against Canelo would definitely keep him interested in sticking around a little while longer.
“Since when have we ever seen the pound-for-pound mixed martial artist go up against the pound-for-pound boxer?” Usman said. “Both in their prime. Not when they’re old and retired and you try to pull them back. Both in their prime. I think that’s something that, I think [would be] the biggest ever in history. That’s something I’m looking to do. That’s something that scares me. That’s something that gets me up in the morning. That’s something I might risk leaving my daughter for another 12 weeks for.
“We’ll see. That’s something that I’m looking at and god willing this Saturday we do what we need to do and why not? Pound-for-pound [best] mixed martial artist in the world versus pound-for-pound [best] boxer in the world, promoted by the pound-for-pound [best] Dana White. Why not?”
Usman will actually square off with Canelo on Saturday night in a sense – both have fights scheduled on pay-per-view. It’s not the competition Usman wants, but he’s still interested to see who gets the bigger numbers as he headlines a card against Covington in New York City while Canelo takes on Caleb Plant in Las Vegas.
“We’ll see who does better,” Usman said. “We’re both in the business of entertainment nowadays. He’s going to entertain on the same night, so are we. We’ll see who does better numbers and then we’re gonna sit there and we’ll have a discussion with the pound-for-pound best promoter in the game in Dana White and we’ll try to make something happen.”
Usman admits he hasn’t approached the UFC president with this idea until now, but he believes White would have to be interested considering the money-making potential for a fight that big.
“Dana’s hearing about it now, I guarantee it,” Usman said. “He’s hearing about it now and that’s one thing I love about Dana. If it makes money, it makes sense. Hopefully we have that conversation.”
Of course, Usman knows setting foot in the boxing ring against a seasoned champion like Canelo would likely see him as a massive underdog. But he refuses to believe he’d be counted out of the fight.
Usman has worked tirelessly on his boxing over the past few years, which has helped him score knockouts over fighters such as Jorge Masvidal as well as in his first fight against Covington, which ended after the UFC champion shattered his jaw.
It might seem like a Herculean task to beat someone like Canelo in the ring but Usman knows he’s got a far better chance to win a boxing match than the 31-year-old Mexican born fighter would have taking a stab at MMA.
“C’mon he wouldn’t dare come in here, let’s be honest,” Usman said. “That’s the thing, we have to pursue these guys cause we’re willing to take that risk. I don’t know if they’re willing to pursue us. Let’s be honest, there’s a reason that scares me. That scares me cause he’s a master at his craft. He’s used to these boxers and the boxing speed and the boxing movements and things like that.
“We’re different. Sometimes different can be good. What’s wrong with giving him a different look? Of course, it’s a tall tree to climb but we saw what happened the last time I was an underdog.”