Kamaru Usman laments failed UFC middleweight title fight with Sean Strickland: ‘1,000% I was moving up’

Kamaru Usman laments failed UFC middleweight title rematch with Sean Strickland 1,000% I was moving up

Former undisputed welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman has claimed he never had the intentions nor interest in fighting fellow African-born star, Israel Adesanya for the middleweight title during their respective title reigns, however, stressed he laments not challenging Sean Strickland following his September coronation.

Usman, the current number one ranked welterweight contender and former pound-for-pound leader under the promotion’s banner, has been sidelined since making a 185lbs debut back in October of last year in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Suffering his third consecutive loss, however, Auchi native, Usman dropped a close, majority decision loss to unbeaten challenger, Khamzat Chimaev in the pair’s short-notice title-eliminator in the Middle East.

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And weighing up the option of a potential stay at the middleweight limit, Usman received a recent call out from former undisputed title chaser, Paulo Costa, who claimed he may have the ability to finish the Nigerian.

Kamaru Usman talks failed middleweight title run

Reflecting on his dominant run as welterweight titleholder, Usman claimed he never had interest in challenging compatriot, Adesanya, however, would have jumped at the chance to fight former titleholder, Strickland for gold. 

“It stings that I didn’t become double-champion,” Kamaru Usman told Henry Cejudo during an appearance on Pound 4 Pound. “But, it doesn’t sting that I didn’t go up and fight Israel (Adesanya). I just genuinely – and I stand by that – I just genuinely had no desire to be the reason why – or the potential reason why Israel – another Nigerian, was not a UFC champion.” 

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“I had no interest in that,” Kamaru Usman explained. “I’m not just saying I was gonna beat him up or whatever, but I just had no interest being the reason why the UFC didn’t have another Nigerian champion. But, had it been Sean Strickland – 1,000% I was moving up.” 

Usman and Strickland first fought back in 2017, with the former landing a one-sided unanimous decision win in their UFC 210 showdown. 

Who do you want to see ex-champion, Kamaru Usman fight next?