A ‘Dream Scenario’ for Kamaru Usman just may become a reality, as he will serve as the official standby for the UFC 228 main event title-fight between Darren Till and Tyron Woodley.
Speaking with Luke Thomas on a recent episode of The MMA Hour ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ explained that whether or not the UFC reaches out to him is irrelevant. He will be on weight Sept 8 to realize a dream.
“It wasn’t really a selection process; I believe I was the rightful guy to be fighting for the belt in the first place,” said Usman.
“I was already training before they announced the fight,” he continued. “I was already going to make weight regardless of whether they called of not. It was going to be in Dallas, my hometown — that’s my fight. That’s a perfect fight for me.”
“So, I was already in training and fortunately [the UFC] was like, ‘Hey, we want you on standby’. I was going to do that anyway, they didn’t have to tell me. I was going to be there on weight whether they compensated me to be there or not. I was going to do that for free because that was my shot.”
A sportsman in every sense of the word, Usman doesn’t wish any ill will on either Till or Woodley. That being said, he admits he has dreamt of this exact scenario.
“If Darren Till is able to make weight, more power to him, I want him to be able to make weight and get his shot. And if everything is fine with Tyron, more power to him. But in my dreams I dreamt this was the process of how I become champion.”
“Nothing changes for me,” Usman said of his preparation. “The only difference is with the scheduled bout, there’s a little less of that pressure, a little less of that anxiety that you feel. Once you have an opponent in your mind that you’re preparing for, you’re working on specifics and you get guys in to mimic what they do. This is different where I don’t have to do that. I’m just training hard, doing the things I’m good at and kind of, in a roundabout way, doing some mimicking things of what these guys are good at. It’s a little less stress, I kind of prefer it this way.”
Gold is the be all end all for Usman, so Woodley would be his preferred opponent if his services were called upon in Dallas. However, from a purely stylistically point of view, Usman beleives Till is the better option.
“If it was just as opponents, of course I would rather [fight] Till. Till is a bigger guy, right now he’s got the wave, he’s got the whole country behind him. He’s that face guy that the UFC is really behind and they’re really trying to push. So, yeah, I’d want Till, for sure, absolutely,” he said. “Plus, he hasn’t really been tested. Everyone wants to see that ground game tested. I want to test that, I want to see what he possesses down there when he’s put on his back.”