Usman has ruled out a clash with fellow Nigerian star Israel Adesanya for the UFC middleweight title, as he has revealed that Adesanya would need to relinquish his title and challenge at 205lb
Kamaru Usman has ruled out fighting Israel Adesanya for the UFC middleweight title – and would only fight for the belt if the champion vacates.
Usman is currently the reigning 170lb champion and has made five successful defences of his crown including two victories each over Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal.
Meanwhile Adesanya recently retained his middleweight belt against Robert Whittaker, but came up short in his bid to become double-champion at light-heavyweight against Jan Blachowicz last year.
The ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ has confirmed he will not be able to simultaneously become double-champion with his fellow countryman.
“The problem is, we can’t do that [become a two-division champion] simultaneously,” Usman told ESPN MMA. “Because in order for him to go up [a weight class] he has to relinquish that belt.
“He has to give up that belt first, then challenge at 205lb. We would know the implications if he became champ-champ but it would be really tough to do. Who would build up in the place to fight for this title at middleweight?
“It would be amazing and of course it would be better if we have three so we will see how that situation ends up.”
Usman has dismissed several challenges for his title with GIlbert Burns also falling short.
Leon Edwards is expected to be next in-line after missing out on a clash with Masvidal last year.
Usman has previously suggested he would not ever enter the octagon with Adesanya who reigns as champion in the division above him.
MMA manager Ali Abdelaziz was previously ridiculed by the pound-for-pound king after he suggested that Usman could take on Adesanya next.
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The 34-year-old has since priced himself out of any potential showdown with Adesanya admitting any potential talks would have to include a huge purse of $100million.
“I’ve said it before, as long as Israel Adesanya is the champion, I have no interest in going there,” Usman told Jim Rome.
“But when Jan Blachowicz was the champion at light heavyweight, of course, I thought it was a great matchup. I’m not saying I would just demolish the whole light heavyweight division.
“I’ve said it before, Adesanya’s a fellow Nigerian. A good guy. I like him, I like his approach. I’ve said it — I’d rather two Nigerians have belts than one Nigerian with two belts.
“If Dana [White] is willing to sit us down and say, $100 million, ‘Hey guys, let’s split this up,’ at that point Israel and I would have to talk.
“Because at that point, my little brother, my blood brother, we would have to talk and say, ‘Hey, let’s go out here and make this money.’”