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Morning Report: Kamaru Usman’s manager wants Usman to face Israel Adesanya ‘if there is enough money’

UFC 236: Holloway v Poirier 2 Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Last week we learned that UFC welterweight champion, and the current top pound-for-pound fighter in the sport Kamaru Usman, considered jumping up to 205 pounds to challenge Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight title. Well, now Usman’s manager is hoping “The Nigerian Nightmare” sets his sights a little lower, to 185 pounds to be exact.

Speaking with TMZ Sports, Ali Abdelaziz discussed what’s next for his client, saying that first Usman would defend his welterweight title against Leon Edwards. But after that business was taken care of, Abdelaziz said he hoped Usman would finally jump up to middleweight to pursue his second UFC belt.

“The next victim is Leon Edwards, “Abdelaziz said. “Great fighter but he will get finished under three rounds. Fact. It’s gonna happen. The welterweight division in the UFC right now is very interesting. Kamaru is gonna beat him. I want him to beat Leon Edwards and then I want him to go fight Israel Adesanya for the middleweight title.”

Usman has competed his entire career at welterweight and has been astonishingly successful in doing so. After winning the UFC welterweight title in 2019, Usman has since rattled off five successful title defenses and cemented himself among the all-time greats in MMA history. His dominance at welterweight has led many fans to call for Usman to make a run at the middleweight title, however, Usman’s relationship with current champion Israel Adesanya has prevented that from happening. Usman and Adesanya were both born in Nigeria and have forged a friendship from their shared background, with Usman saying he would only compete against Adesanya if the UFC threw an exorbitant amount of money at them. Well, Abdelaziz seems to think that there is a price to make the fight happen and that it’s more achievable than many believe.

“Listen, these guys, they’re cool but I don’t think they’re best friends,” Abdelaziz said. “If there is enough money for both of them to fight, they will fight in the parking lot. I know how people work. This has nothing to do with loyalty, because these guys, it’s not like they’re training partners or brothers. They’re African brothers and that holds a lot of value ... but at the end of the day, I’m Kamaru Usman’s team all the way. I want to see Kamaru Usman, before the end of the road, have two titles. I’m selfish, I’m greedy, and I think Kamaru deserves it....

“I know Dana wants it, I want it, it makes sense. It makes a lot of sense. Israel Adesanya goes up to fight for light heavyweight division (title). Israel did not accomplish what Kamaru accomplished. There’s no way. Not to take anything away from Israel. I think there is enough money for these two guys that (they) would fight. I want to see this fight now. I think fans want it, I want it. I think these two men need to call each other... Mike Tyson told me this: ‘If they’re real brothers, they should fight for them to make money.’”

But before Abdelaziz or the UFC can get ahead of themselves, both men have title defenses they need to take care of. Though a date is not currently set, Usman is expected to defend his welterweight belt against Leon Edwards later this year. Meanwhile, Adesanya is scheduled to rematch Robert Whittaker at UFC 271 on Feb. 12.


TOP STORIES

Results. Ryan Bader successfully defended his Bellator heavyweight title with unanimous decision win over Valentin Moldavsky.

Results. Khabib Nurmagomedov’s Eagle FC made its U.S. debut with Sergei Kharitonov and Rashad Evans getting wins.

Next. Benson Henderson unsure about MMA future after finishing contract with Bellator 273 win.

Beef. Jake Paul explains diss track, blasts Dana White over lawsuit threats, ‘pure disrespect’ involving Francis Ngannou.

$$$. Tyson Fury set to make more than $32 million for heavyweight title defense against Dillian Whyte.


VIDEO STEW

Ryan Bader post-fight press conference.

Scott Coker post-fight press conference.

Jake Paul diss track.

Khamzat Chimaev training.

Free fight.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

The GOAT and Henry Cejudo.

Tony Ferguson getting heated with Ali Abdelaziz.

Corey Anderson getting some ideas about going up a weight class.

MMA Cribs with Sean Strickland.

Kevin Holland taking on trolls IRL.

Support.

Plot twist.

Missed opportunity.

Conor planning to go sober for fight training.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Misha Cirkunov (15-7) vs. Wellington Turman (17-5); UFC Vegas 48, Feb. 26.

Paul Craig (15-4-1) vs. Nikita Krylov (26-8); UFC London, Mar. 19.

Kay Hansen (7-5) vs. Piera Rodriguez (7-0); UFC 273, Apr. 9.

Donald Cerrone (36-16) vs. Joe Lauzon (28-15); UFC Fight Night, Apr. 30.

Chase Hooper (10-2-1) vs. Felipe Colares (10-3); UFC Fight Night, May 21.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

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Should Bellator have booked Bader vs. Fedor next?

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