Kamaru Usman touts ‘death grip’ ahead of UFC 278, not planning weight gain ahead of light heavyweight move

Kamaru Usman
Mandatory Credit: Chris Unger - Zuffa LLC

Ahead of his UFC 278 headliner this weekend in Salt Lake City, undisputed welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman has flaunted an apparent “death grip” ahead of an eventual light heavyweight division leap, however, doesn’t plan on ballooning in mass to make the climb.

Usman, the current undisputed welterweight champion, returns to the Octagon for the first time this year atop this Saturday’s UFC 278 card at the Vivint Arena – rematching title challenger, Leon Edwards as he searches for his sixth successful title defense. Usman previously defeated Edwards in a unanimous decision win back in December 2015. 

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Kamaru Usman doubts the need for a weight gain ahead of a light heavyweight leap

Adding fuel to the fire on a potential light heavyweight division move, Usman has welcomed immediate title clashes against either champion, Jiri Prochazka, or Brazilian veteran, Glover Teixeira, as well as a landing against Jan Blachowicz.

However, akin to his fellow Nigerian-born champion, Israel Adesanya at middleweight – Usman claims he would not seek out a sizeable weight gain to make the light heavyweight limit.

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“I don’t need to put on the weight,” Kamaru Usman told MMA Junkie. “People don’t understand what my death grip is like. If I get around you, I don’t care if whether you’re a heavyweight or 205 (pounds) – these guys understand where my strength is. But I’ll leave that up to my coaches. I have an idea what I want to do in a fight, but I’ll leave that up to my coaches.”

“I have an approach of how I want to fight those fights in my head, which usually comes out when everything else is falling in a fight,” Kamaru Usman explained. 

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Successfully defending his welterweight throne on five separate occasions, Usman holds knockout wins over both Jorge Masvidal, and Colby Covington – to go with decision wins over the pair, as well as a knockout win over former teammate, Gilbert Burns last year. 

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.