Kamaru Usman becoming a two-division titleholder wouldn’t surprise many fans at this point given everything that he’s accomplished. But the second title being at 205 pounds?
In an interview with GQ, the reigning UFC welterweight champion stated that at some point in the last year he had considered pursuing a second title in the light heavyweight division. That would be two divisions up from the 170-pound weight class that Usman competes at, but as he has mentioned before he has no interest in fighting 185-pound champion Israel Adesanya, a friend with whom he shares Nigerian heritage.
Usman had his sights set on Jan Blachowicz, who successfully defended his light heavyweight title against Adesanya at UFC 259 before dropping it to Glover Teixeira seven months later.
“I was going to skip Israel and go fight Jan at 205 [pounds],” Usman said. “Because I’m pound-for-pound, I want to prove it. No matter what weight it is, I thought he was a really good matchup for me.”
Usman is currently No. 1 in MMA Fighting’s Pound-for-Pound Rankings.
Though Blachowicz is no longer the champion, he remains one of the most highly regarded fighters in the sport having won nine out of 10 fights before his loss to Teixeira. The Polish power-puncher’s conquests include Adesanya, Dominick Reyes, current Bellator standout Corey Anderson, Ronaldo Souza, and former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold among other notables.
Still, Usman liked his chances against the former champion.
“I think I would beat him,” Usman said.
Usman also spoke to GQ about his rivalry with Colby Covington, a two-fight feud that has twice seen Usman’s hand raised after nearly 10 rounds of action and generated l plenty of headlines due to Covington’s trash talk.
Not known for having an outlandish personality, Usman said he understands why Covington and other fighters have to create a persona to market themselves even if he doesn’t take that same approach.
“Conor McGregor is a perfect example,” Usman said. “Completely ignore the respect aspect and you get super famous. How do you tell these kids nowadays, ‘Hey, respect is the most important thing,’ when they can be super rich and famous like Conor?”