clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Khamzat Chimaev believes Kamaru Usman won’t be same after UFC 278 knockout: ‘Now you know you’re human’

Kamaru Usman after Leon Edwards KO
Kamaru Usman after Leon Edwards KO
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

Khamzat Chimaev thinks Kamaru Usman will be a changed man after losing to Leon Edwards.

Edwards claimed the UFC welterweight title with an incredible head-kick knockout in the fifth round of the UFC 278 main event. So vicious was the knockout that Usman said he was disoriented for 20 minutes afterward, and with a KO like that, Chimaev believes Usman may never be the same

“It was a crazy fight, good fight,” Chimaev told ESPN. “I learned a lot of things about that fight. It was funny to watch, [Usman] was too much high up. ‘I’m gonna fight with Canelo [Alvarez],’ and he got shot. He wasn’t focused and he said, ‘I’m always focused,’ and a lot of things. ‘I want to make money.’ ... Leon comes and shot his head, dropped the guy.

“I don’t think he’ll be the same guy again. In the mind. We’ve seen a lot of champions thinking, ‘Nobody can beat me,’ because he defend so many times, ‘Now I’m unbeatable,’ that kind of thing, and bam, somebody knock you out. Now you know you’re human, as well.”

Usman’s loss is unfortunate for Chimaev, who seemed to be next in line for a welterweight title shot, but now that’s highly unlikely. UFC President Dana White has already suggested the promotion plans to book a trilogy bout between Edwards and Usman in England next year, leaving Chimaev out in the cold for the time being. But if that happens, “Borz” has a backup plan: He’ll just go get a different title instead.

“If they want to do it, for me no problem,” Chimaev said. “I’m gonna take some other fight, and we will see what’s happening. Maybe Israel Adesanya or the other guy, Alex Pereira. Who wins that, maybe fight with them. I don’t know. We’ll wait for Dana White after my fight. He said after my last fight maybe we’ll fight for the title but it didn’t happen.”

First things first, though, and Chimaev already has a fight to attend to. This Saturday, Chimaev faces Nate Diaz in the main event of UFC 279. It’s Chimaev’s first time in a headlining spot, and he’s facing a guy he has a lot of respect for. But Chimaev says once the cage door closes, that’s out the window.

“I am a fan – if you’re not a fan, what are you doing here?” Chimaev said. “I think the guys who say, ‘I don’t like nobody’ are liars. You look up to somebody. You have to look up to somebody. If you play tennis, you’re going to look up to the best players. This guys been at the top all his life. I look up to him and other guys, watch the fights and learn something. Have fun. I like the guy. He’s a tough guy. I have respect for tough guys. He’s a warrior, I’m a warrior. Warriors always respect warriors...

“One side I respect the guy. All my opponents I respect the guys, but once I go to kill somebody, there’s no need for respect... If he can, he’s going to kill me. I’m going to do the same thing. In the cage when it comes time for war, I respect nobody.”

UFC 279 takes place on Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting