I won’t fight my Nigerian brother– Usman
What could be a clash of two Nigerian brothers in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) may have been avoided following a declaration by the welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, that he would never stage a fight against his friend Israel Adesanya.
Usman stated yesterday that he would be interested in moving up to the middleweight division, but only if Adesanya was no longer champion.
Kamaru Usman, who hails from Auchi, Edo State and Israel Adesanya, a native of Odogbolu in Ogun State are two eminent characters in the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).
Usman says he would ‘absolutely’ consider stepping up to 185 pounds after he beat Gilbert Burns 34 seconds into the third round at UFC 258 – taking his record to 18-1, defending his title for the third time, and breaking Georges St Pierre’s consecutive welterweight victories record in the process.
However, the Nigerian-born Texan has admitted the move is dependent on Adesanya as he ‘would never entertain going up to fight Izzy’ and claims he would rather ‘two Africans held belts than one African with two belts’.
The Nigerian Nightmare – who is set for welterweight rematches against Jorge Masvidal, Colby Covington, and Leon Edwards – has said he would consider the step up if Adesanya says he wants nothing to do with’ the middleweight anymore.
He told ESPN: ‘Absolutely, absolutely. If Izzy’s willing to move up – well he is moving up, but if he’s willing to give up that 185 belt and says “I have nothing to do with that anymore”, then absolutely I would entertain that thought.’
Usman and Adesanya are regarded as two of the most dominant champions in the UFC at present, but neither of them will lay a glove on each other due to a long-standing friendship.
However, it is likely that Adesanya will step up a weight class to fight Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight title.
Should he be successful, he may vacate his middleweight title in the future and give Usman the opportunity to challenge for the 185-pound belt.
But if Adesanya chooses to keep hold of both his belts, Usman has made it clear he will noteven entertain’ the idea of moving up a weight category to challenge his friend.
Usman said: ‘On no account right now would I ever entertain going up to fight Izzy. That’s just not something that I’m interested in.
‘I’ve stated over and over before, I’d rather two Africans with belts as opposed to one African with two belts.
‘After March, it’s gonna be three Africans with four belts. It’s a good time to be an African.’
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