Kamaru Usman chases ‘respect’ with light heavyweight title win ahead of UFC 278 return

Kamaru Usman
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Bottari - Zuffa LLC

Ahead of his UFC 278 title defense against Leon Edwards this weekend, Kamaru Usman claims he hopes to land “respect” from the fanbase and critics if he adds an undisputed light heavyweight championship to his welterweight crown.

Attempting to secure his sixth successful defense of the welterweight crown in Salt Lake City this weekend, Auchi native, Usman headlines UFC 278 in a title rematch against Edwards, having previously defeated the Birmingham native in a unanimous decision effort back in December 2015.

Last time out, Kamaru Usman closed the curtain and his rivalry with Colby Covington at UFC 268 last November, landing a second career win over the former interim titleholder in another unanimous judging win. Usman holds a prior title win over Covington, as well as two victories against Jorge Masvidal, and a knockout success against Gilbert Burns.

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Kamaru Usman once again weighs up a potential move to 205lbs

Revealing earlier this year how he had weighed up a potential light heavyweight excursion during the reign of Polish veteran, Jan Blachowicz last year, Usman claimed that a move to 205lbs would come as he looks to earn “respect” in the annals of the sport.

“A lot of times nowadays, everyone’s throwing around this, ‘G.O.A.T., greatest of all time…’ That’s relative,” Kamaru Usman told ESPN MMA. “For me, what I want, and this is kind of why I got into the sport … I’m just a competitive guy. I got into sports and I just realized it was something burning inside of me that I wanted to compete and compete. I wanted to best the guy. This is the ultimate, mono-e-mono, the sport to do it.”

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“With that being said with respect to that, I want to be respected,” Kamaru Usman explained. “So, when i get in there and I bested everyone, I want you to show me that respect. So, if I bested everyone in my division then I said I will skip one and I just want to prove to you – everyone says pound-for-pound, but’s that just kind of a scenario. You just throw that out, ‘If they were the same weight class, could this guy best that guy?’ And I want to prove that. I want to be able to do that. No one’s ever done it. If I can do that, hey, you put whatever title you want to put on it but ultimately, I want the respect.” (Transcribed by MMA Fighting)

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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.