Kamaru Usman continued his dominant reign over the UFC welterweight division last Saturday with a 3rd round knockout victory over Gilbert Burns. While there is discussion as to who, after Burns, presents the best challenge to the “Nigerian Nightmare,” Usman himself has expressed openness to the idea of moving up in weight, on one condition: that his friend and compatriot Israel Adesanya is not the belt-holder.
While Adesanya is the current middleweight champion, he is to challenge light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259 in March. If he were to win the light heavyweight belt, it is unclear whether he will be able to defend both titles.
If [Adesanya] is willing to give up that 185 belt and says ‘I have nothing to do with that anymore,’ then absolutely I would entertain that thought,” said Usman on the idea of moving up to middleweight.
Usman’s rationale for this is not only due to his friendship with Adesanya but his desire for there to be multiple African UFC champions. “I’d rather two Africans with belts as opposed to one African with two belts,” Usman said, adding: “After March, it’s gonna be three Africans with four belts,” referring to Cameroonian knockout artist Francis Ngannou, who will be challenging Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight belt at UFC 260.