Fresh off his knockout win over Jorge Masvidal, UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is looking to keep active in 2021.
Two weeks ago at UFC 261, Usman ended his rivalry with Masvidal when he blasted “Gamebred” with a right hand just one minute into the second round. In the lead up to the fight, Usman made a big deal out of wanting to get “satisfaction” after what he felt was a lackluster performance in their first bout, a unanimous decision win for the champion. But leaving UFC 261 after delivering one of the best knockouts of the year, Usman has no such qualms anymore.
“It was not being able to display those skills that I showed in this second fight that angered me in that first fight but in this second one, I was extremely satisfied,” Usman told ESPN. “I cam for violence. There’s been two fights that I came really just for violence. I was really just going to trust in my abilities and not necessarily systematically do things like I normally do, I was just gonna come for violence and that was this fight and my first title defense.”
The short nature of the rematch once again left Usman feeling good, both physically and mentally. So good, in fact, that the champion is looking for his third fight in 2021 already. After the bout, he called for a June turnaround and while that timeline is unlikely at this point, the welterweight champion is actively looking to compete again before the summer is out.
“Because I’m just in this place in my career and I’ve come to this realization where I understand - I’ve been through so much with my body,” Usman said. “I’ve had seven surgeries, and those long, extended times in between camps it makes each fight feel like it’s a brand new first fight and I don’t like that feeling. It comes with a lot of anxiety. Now pile on the fact that you are a world champion, now pile on the fact that you are from a different continent and the whole continent is on your shoulders, now pile on the fact that everyone’s talking crap, you’re not that good, this and that, it just becomes so much to bear...
“My body is starting to come together where, if I can, why not? Why not stay active? You can tell, I fought three fights in the last nine months to where some guys haven’t fought three fights in three years. I’m just trying to stay there.”
Usman’s desire to compete again so soon does have one downside though: it limits who he can fight. With several top fighters in the division already booked up, or Usman not being interested in more fast rematches, there are only a couple of names on Usman’s possible hit list. Unfortunately though, the name the UFC seems most interested in matching Usman with is not on that list.
Ahead of UFC 261, UFC President Dana White insisted that Colby Covington was the next challenger for Usman’s title, however, having already defeated Covington once before and with “Chaos” having barely competed since then, the champion remains stalwart in his disinterest in that rematch right now, preferring to give active fighters a shot at the belt.
“I’m not gonna say I don’t want the fight,” Usman said. “I want all the smoke, it doesn’t matter who it is. I want all the smoke. At the end of the day, it’s what have you done to earn this? Your claim to fame can’t be, ‘Oh, I went five rounds and then the guy broke my jaw and finished me.’ That can’t be your claim to fame. Masvidal went five rounds with me too. Tyron Woodley went five rounds with me. You can’t sit around and fight three fights in three years and expect to get a title shot when I just fought three times in nine months. The champion can’t be the most active guy in the division.
“I’ve been through the whole division and now I’m coming back around. So everyone sitting around and going ‘I’m next, I’m next, I’m next!’ I don’t really believe in that. Show me something. Show me some activity. Leon Edwards, granted he was kind of stuck in that funky spot where he didn’t fight for two years and that set him back but look at the guy. Since he fought me he’s put together an impressive resume. Putting together an eight-fight win streak or something like that. You’ve got Michael Chiesa putting together a four-fight win streak, you’ve got Vicente Luque coming back and putting on a four-fight win streak and finishing these guys, so why does he deserve this shot? Just because he went five rounds and then I broke his jaw and finished the fight? That doesn’t make sense to me.”
While the UFC and Covington will likely continue to push for that rematch, viewing it as a lucrative grudge match, there is another option that is presenting itself soon though. At UFC 263, Leon Edwards will face Nate Diaz in a five-round non-title fight and Usman says that if either man impresses, they could get the next title shot. Or, on the same card middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is defending his belt against Marvin Vettori, and if Vettori somehow pulls off the upset, perhaps Usman will consider making the jump to 185.
“Yes I do want to see how those play out because there’s a lot of implications,” Usman said. “If Leon looks spectacular, it makes sense. If Nate looks spectacular, that could make sense as well. With the whole Marvin and Israel situation, I don’t necessarily want to think about that. I’m 100 percent behind Izzy and I think he can pull it out. I love Marvin as well but I think Izzy can pull that one out. He’s done it before and I think he can and I think he will. But if there was a case to where I would actually go up and challenge for that belt it would be without Izzy being in the picture. So if Izzy’s not champ, then it’s something I could take a look at.”
Results. Renan Ferreira taps, but knocks out Fabricio Werdum, Kayla Harrison rolls at PFL 3.
Promotion. Jake Paul steals Floyd Mayweather’s hat, bedlam breaks out at presser for Logan Paul exhibition
COVID. John Oliver slams ‘f**king moron’ Joe Rogan for questioning whether younger people need COVID-19 vaccine.
Return. Chris Weidman has every intention of returning to the octagon: ‘I 100 percent want to fight’.
Amends. Michael ‘Venom’ Page buries hatchet with Bellator after frustration over inactivity, promotion.
PFL 3 post-fight press conference.
UFC Vegas 26 fighters you should know.
Adesanya does a fan Q&A.
UFC Unfiltered. Interviews with Neil Magny and Amanda Ribas.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
I've been fighting for 23 years and one of the first things we learn when your opponent gives up we have to respect— Fabricio Werdum (@FabricioWerdum) May 7, 2021
Now it appears as though Ferreira did a litttle half tap. man Werdum gonna be pissed— Funky (@Benaskren) May 7, 2021
Looked like he tapped twice. Which is sometimes called a “Brazilian tap.” Not the normal 3 taps to fake out your opponent. To be fair, didn’t look like Verdum let off on the choke any bit because of it. But, is still a tap at the end of the day.— Alan Jouban (@AlanJouban) May 7, 2021
Overturn this fight! @FabricioWerdum won this fight! #PFL— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) May 7, 2021
It was a tap #pflmma #vaicavalo— #OnAmission4Gold (@KelvinGastelum) May 7, 2021
Looks like 1 "tap", followed by a multitude of punches.— (@JoshLBarnett) May 7, 2021
Never stop til the ref stops you.
Lawwwwd!!! Kayla Harrison ain’t playing!— Alan Jouban (@AlanJouban) May 7, 2021
Kayla Harrison is a savage!— Funky (@Benaskren) May 7, 2021
“I’m the baddest woman in the room, I’m the baddest woman in any room “ ok @KaylaH with two gold medals and the way you’re fighting who’s gonna question it. You’re doing so well. Great job!— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) May 7, 2021
Seems like most combat sports people don’t actually know much about how the world views combat sports.
Jake Paul disgrace for the sport. Sad see this clown doing shit like that to a Legend like Floyd. I’m glad no mma fighters there, he could get serious injured— Marlon Moraes (@MMARLONMORAES) May 6, 2021
What a fucking joke. Between Floyd , Paul, dildo Dannis and all the other idiots. they turned the honorable sport of fighting into a fucking circus act. Well done to the ufc. Outside of a few boxing fights, it’s The last true arena for legitimate combat sports. https://t.co/u5kJPNYZDK— michael (@bisping) May 7, 2021
I think the real sadness in all of this is just how trivial boxing now looks. In what other sport could a social media “star” walk in at the top? I look forward to seeing Jake Paul in the Real Madrid starting XI next month, or his brother in F1? Please stop. #circus— Marc Goddard (@marcgoddard_uk) May 7, 2021
Call me snobby, elitist or over sensitive but I’ve always thought the same. In a sport where people have literally given their life, to see it trivialised for nothing but clicks, views & financial gain seems alien to me. I’m all for “each to their own” but let’s draw a line. https://t.co/7eVkqKaZYW— Marc Goddard (@marcgoddard_uk) May 7, 2021
These #paulbrothers are real big clowns . Humiliating and embarrassing professional combat athletes #MayweatherPaul— John Wayne Makdessi (@JohnMakdessi) May 7, 2021
Your new co-main is locked— UFC (@ufc) May 6, 2021
@TonyFergusonXT meets @BeneilDariush in Houston!
[ #UFC262 | Saturday May 15 ] pic.twitter.com/Hdy8AJPrXJ
Sean Soriano (14-6) vs. Christos Giagos (18-8); UFC 262, May 15.
Norma Dumont (5-1) vs. Felicia Spencer (8-2); UFC Fight Night, May 22.
Thanks for reading, enjoy the fights, and see y’all on Monday.
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