Kamaru Usman is often cited as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in mixed martial arts, and he says that he wants to put that theory to the test.
The longtime UFC welterweight champion is due to defend his crown at UFC 278 on August 20 in a rematch against former foe Leon Edwards, the fighter with the second longest undefeated streak at 170-pounds behind him. A win, though, would mean that Usman would have defeated each of the three top contenders at welterweight, Edwards, Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington, on two separate occasions.
And while future challenges likely await from fighters such as Khamzat Chimaev, Sean Brady and Shavkat Rakhmonov, Usman says that he may look elsewhere for his next challenge — even if that means moving up TWO weight classes.
Nothing I can’t handle… but first the English 👊🏿🌍🤴🏿 #P4P #ANDSTILL pic.twitter.com/KJCnGtR4xl
— KAMARU USMAN (@USMAN84kg) July 4, 2022
“We’re gonna go in there and we’re completely focused on Leon Edwards,” Usman said in an interview with TMZ Sports.
“But after Leon Edwards, we have our sights set on (light heavyweight), whether it’s Jan or whether it’s Jiří, whoever it is, that’s what we want.
“I want to prove to the world that there’s a reason why they say pound-for-pound,” he added. “That means pound-for-pound at any given time, any given moment, any given weight, I can go in there and not only hold my own, I can be victorious. I wanna be able to prove that.”
The standard practice for a fighter in Usman’s situation would be to move up a single division to middleweight, but he has vowed never to fight his friend (and other fighter from Nigerian heritage) Israel Adesanya, meaning that he could become one of just a handful of fighters (Conor McGregor and Jared Cannonier being two of the other most obvious) to have fought two weight classes away from the division in which they made their debut.