Linked with a future welterweight title defense agaisnt the undefeated, Khamzat Chimaev ahead of his UFC 278 headliner this weekend, division best, Kamaru Usman remains coy on potentially drawing the Chechen-born force, as he prepares to rematch Leon Edwards.
Usman, the current undisputed welterweight champion, is set to take main event honors at the Vivint Arena this Saturday in Salt Lake City, drawing the surging, #2 ranked Edwards in a rematch of their prior decision affair back in December 2015.
Attempting to rack up his astonishing sixteenth straight UFC victory, Kamaru Usman also looks to land his sixth successful defense of the welterweight title, after landing a pair of triumphs against both Colby Covington, and Jorge Masvidal – sandwiched between a knockout of former teammate, Gilbert Burns.
Insisting that he is repeatedly “lapping” his opponents and contenders at welterweight, Usman has since found himself linked with what seems an inevitable title outing against the aforenoted, Chimaev in the future.
Kamaru Usman weighs up a potential future fight with Khamzat Chimaev post-UFC 278
Slated to headline UFC 279 against Nate Diaz next month, Chimaev is expected to earn a title shot with a victory over the exiting Stockton favorite, however, Usman has admitted that he is unsure whether he is receptive to the prospect of fighting the AllStars berserker.
“I don’t know if I’m looking forward to it,” Kamaru Usman said of a Khamzat Chimaev fight during a sitdown with ESPN MMA reporter, Brett Okamoto. “The Leon (Edward) one is big to me, because I fight these guys – when I say I fight these guys, I fight their hearts. And after the fight – and Leon, now, has kinda gotten on a roll and he says certain things like, ‘No, it’s destiny, I’m gonna take the belt from the guy that beat me a long time ago.’ It strikes a nerve inside me – I’m awake.”
“Every camp is tough, I train just as difficult for every camp,” Kamaru Usman said. “And so thst is still tough. And mentally I’m there – there might not be as much noise around it, but I’m still up. The Khamzat (Chimaev) – if that fight does come about, I think I have to have the ability to not get wrapped up in what’s gonna happen. Because that’s where, I’m emotional – but I don’t necessarily wanna fight emotional. And what makes me who I am, is being able to control my emotions. I’d be lying if I said, I won’t be getting up, you know, much more for that one.”
Enjoying a roughshod run through welterweight competition during his Octagon tenure to date, beyond a D’Arce choke win over John Philips, Chimaev has stopped the trio of Rhys McKee, Gerald Meerschaert, and Li Jingliang, to go with his April unanimous decision win over common-foe, Burns in Jacksonville, Florida.