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Morning Report: Kamaru Usman willing to move up to middleweight, on one condition

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Kamaru Usman
Kamaru Usman
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

This past weekend, Kamaru Usman successfully defended his welterweight title with a third-round TKO over top contender Gilbert Burns at UFC 258. The win left Usman in the rarified position of having now beaten the top four contenders in his division, with no clear challenger waiting in line. Given that, after his fight on Saturday, Usman suggested a rematch with Jorge Masvidal who he beat last year on short notice and since then the UFC appears to be running with this idea, not just for a fight but as the way to bring back their flagship television series, The Ultimate Fighter.

The welterweight champion would not confirm that he and Masvidal would be the next TUF coaches, however, he did heavily tease that it was in the works when speaking with ESPN yesterday.

“It’s crazy how similar of a path I’m walking with Rashad Evans,” Usman said. “Rashad winning The Ultimate Fighter - I did that. Rashad being a UFC champion - I did that. Rashad coached The Ultimate Fighter and now I’m in a position to do that. Rashad’s a Hall of Famer. I told him, ‘Hey big bro, I’m coming! I’m trying to get that jacket too.’ So it’s crazy how much of a path. It’s kind of (a question) of do I have a choice to do it, yes or no? For that reason alone it’s almost a yes for me.”

The Ultimate Fighter has been on hiatus since November of 2018 and has largely been replaced as a hotbed for cultivating young talent by the Tuesday Night Contender Series. However, given all that TUF has meant to the UFC, plans have been in the works to bring the series back on the ESPN+ platform. Over the last few months, a number of fighters have been linked to serve as coaches on the revival, but nothing came to fruition. A grudge match between Usman and Masvidal is exactly the kind of animosity the show has previously courted and according to Usman, it could all even set up a huge PPV event in Masvidal’s hometown of Miami.

“I run Miami,” Usman said. “Miami is mine. He doesn’t run anything in Miami. You don’t run anything in Miami if you’re getting beat up like that. No city wants a loser. Miami is mine. I run Miami. So yes, he gets to leave his house to come fight in my arena in Miami...

“It’s gonna be a great place to do it. I don’t think they’ve ever had a UFC fight at the AAA Arena, so that would be amazing.”

At this point, all of that is theoretical though and in the world of the possible, there is another avenue that Usman may want to pursue. Following his win over Burns, Joe Rogan commented that Usman may be the greatest welterweight of all time. That title, of course, belongs to Georges St-Pierre, however, if Usman wants to continue building his case as the GOAT, he may feel the need to capture a second title like GSP did. And Usman says it’s something he’s open to, on one condition.

“Absolutely,” Usman said. “If Izzy (Israel Adesanya) is willing to move up - well, he is moving up - but, if he’s willing to give up that 185 belt and say ‘I don’t want to have anything to do with that division anymore’ then absolutely. I would entertain that thought. But on no account right now would I ever entertain going up to fight with Izzy. That’s just not something that I am interested in. I’ve stated it over and over and over before, I’d rather there be two African’s with belts as opposed to one African with two belts. And you know, after March there’s going to be three Africans with a four belts. So it’s a good time to be an African. Good time.”

With so many options available to him, right now, it’s a good time to be Kamaru Usman.


TOP STORIES

Wild. Bryan Caraway charged with forgery, theft and insurance fraud over ATV allegedly stolen from Miesha Tate.

Plan. Curtis Blaydes willing to ‘clean out the division’ to get a title shot, still expects the ‘GOAT’ Stipe Miocic to be champion.

Boxing. Jake Paul plans to become ‘undeniable’ to Conor McGregor by beating Ben Askren and Nate Diaz.

Bellator. Former champion Will Brooks open to a return to Bellator despite unceremonious exit, but doesn’t expect it to happen.

New beginnings. Antonio Carlos Junior explains why he’s ‘relieved’ with UFC release.


VIDEO STEW

The A-Side Live Chat.

Best finishes from the fighters this weekend.

Bellator first-round KOs and Subs.

Usman trying to join Dancing with the Stars.

Lotta fighters trying to get into the chef game.


LISTEN UP

Heavy Hands. Discussing Kamaru Usman, Maycee Barber, and Blaydes vs. Lewis.

UFC Unfiltered. Interviews with Luis Pena and Philip Hawes.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Gamebred.

Wonderboy.

No Mercy.

LPP.

Motown Phenom.

Shorty.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Loma Lookboonmee (5-2) vs. Sam Hughes (5-2); UFC Fight Night, May 1.

Katlyn Chookagian (15-4) vs. Viviane Araujo (10-2); UFC Fight Night, May 15.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Usman should be the number two P4P ranked fighter behind only Khabib at this point. Man has beaten six of the top ten welterweight contenders, including the top four.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

Poll

Who wins this weekend?

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    Ketlen Vieira
    (330 votes)
  • 36%
    Yana Kunitskaya
    (192 votes)
522 votes total Vote Now

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