Kamaru Usman has plenty of challenges still ahead of him, but unless Israel Adesanya is no longer champion, fighting for the UFC middleweight title isn’t among them.
On the mend following hand surgery and targeting a summertime UFC return, Usman addressed the possibility of moving up to 185 pounds on Wednesday, continuing a conversation that began after he recently revealed that he briefly considered challenging for the UFC light heavyweight title while Jan Blachowicz was still champion.
“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’m saying I thought that was a great matchup, and I thought that I would have been a two-time champion, and skipping middleweight and becoming the light heavyweight champion.”
While the chance to face Blachowicz never came to fruition, Usman doubled down on the notion that he would never attempt to take Adesanya’s title away. The two may not be training partners, but Usman has long considered Adesanya a friend, and the only way he’d entertain the fight is if the UFC put up a massive sum of money that neither fighter could ignore.
“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.’”