As the reigning UFC welterweight champion, “The Nigerian Nightmare” Kamaru Usman feels he needs some worthy adversaries to prove his greatness.
There is still plenty of time left for Usman to fight three times this year like he suggested he’d like to do. However, the recently-crowned champion seems to be in no rush.
“This time, I want to make sure I’m doing things the right way, because I’m not just a contender anymore,” Usman told reporters at UFC 237 (via MMA Junkie).
While the beef between Usman and Ben Askren has subsided in recent weeks, it’s hard to pass up an opportunity to call out an old rival. So when Askren was made to look a fool by Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs in a charity wrestling event at Beat the Streets NYC, Usman couldn’t resist.
Loss to Burroughs
Usman reacted to the tweet in the interview. Askren was beaten by the best in wrestling. If he wanted to face the best in MMA, he’ll be waiting:
“Ben came in thinking, ‘I’m the best at everything – I’m the best at wrestling, I’m the best at this and that,’” Usman said. “So that (tweet) was just to let him know, ‘Hey, no you’re not. Relax.’ When you go into wrestling, there’s the best guy that’s there. And he went in there and he felt that.
“Now, if you want to come into the UFC, there’s a guy that’s the best there, too – and that’s me. So when that time comes, and I get my opportunity to show him that, I will gladly do it.”
Nothing Against Askren?
Not too long ago, Usman stepped up to Askren backstage before a press conference. While nothing kicked off at that time, it is a reminder of how not to act nowadays for the champ.
“As a champion, whoever I defend that belt against is going to make me a little extra money,” he said. “I need to have worthy adversaries that people are going to be interested in seeing me beat up. If he’s already starting to stir the pot and make that fight big, I love it. I have nothing against Ben Askren. When we step in that cage, I’m beating up anybody.”
Let us not forget Askren has a date with Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239 later this year, so we can’t put the title shot in “Funkytown” just yet. But Usman knows he has made a big splash and gotten people talking. Still, he called him ‘just another guy’ waiting for him:
“Ben Askren was never an issue for me,” Usman said. “He came in, and of course, he wanted to really sell himself. Now, he’s in the big show and he needs to make a splash, and he did that. So I’m glad that everybody’s talking about him. That’s just another guy … that’s waiting for me.”