UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is itching to get back into training and defend his title for the first time.
Usman became the new 170-pound champion after he outclassed Tyron Woodley over five rounds at UFC 235 in March.
However, injuries have piled up as “The Nigerian Nightmare” is currently recovering from a damaged knee and fractured foot. He does, however, expect to return to action by the end of the year:
“It’s killing me, not training,” he said at a recent scrum (via BJ Penn). “I’m a guy who likes to train, I like to stay active. That’s the most important thing, to get back to where I’m healthy.. Then I can become the active and dominant champ that I want to be.”
Usman’s First Title Defense
Usman is expected to defend his title against longtime rival Colby Covington next. The only question for him, though, is whether Covington will actually accept the fight:
“I wanted Colby because I’ve wanted Colby for three years now,” he added. “They’ve offered me that fight at least 4-5 times, and I’ve accepted it each and every time. He’s the guy who has turned down the fight. I hope he’s man enough now to man up and take the fight.”
Even if Covington is not his first title defense, Usman is ready for just about anyone else in the top ranks of the division. That includes another rival in Ben Askren:
“Ben Askren was never an issue for me…I’m glad everyone is talking about him, that’s just another guy for me,” Usman explained. “After I get the next opponent, that’s another guy that’s waiting for me that I can go and defend against… but he’s got to fight Jorge Masvidal [first] and Masvidal’s no easy guy. Any one of those guys, I’m ready and I’m prepared for all of them.”
Which highly-ranked welterweight do you want to see Usman face?