Israel Adesanya shuts down Kamaru Usman super fight: 'It's bigger than money'

  • Tom Ward

Israel Adesanya has poured cold water on a potential super-fight with Kamaru Usman, insisting he has ‘nothing to gain’ from a showdown with the UFC welterweight champion.

A mouth-watering showdown between the pair, 32 and 35 respectively, has been the talk of the internet for some time now after Usman’s UFC 268 victory over Colby Covington last November but nothing concrete has ever materialised.

But with both men currently occupying the top position of their respective weight divisions, some MMA fans are eager to see the two share the octagon to decide who is the No1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

Usman’s manager Ali Abdelaziz has also bigged up the blockbuster fight, saying: “They’re cool but I don’t think they’re best friends.”

Adesanya, however, can’t see the fight happening anytime soon.

He told TSN. “Kamaru can speak for himself and he has, and I’ve spoken for myself and we said we wouldn’t fight each other. For me personally, it’s bigger than money. Also, I have nothing to gain.

“It’s the guy coming up from a lower weight class that looks to challenge himself that’s almost the protagonist of the story, that gets to rise to the occasion and that’s cool, but Kamaru’s not interested.

“Ali is just greedy. He sees dollar signs, but I’m like you can make that money elsewhere. But he’s just super greedy and for me, it’s bigger than money.

GLENDALE, ARIZONA – JUNE 12: Israel Adesanya of Nigeria prepares to fight Marvin Vettori of Italy during their UFC 263 middleweight championship match at Gila River Arena on June 12, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona.

“If I was gonna [sic] do this s*** for money and retire, I would have retired three fights ago. I’m set, but nah, it’s bigger than money. It’s just about legacy.”

Adesanya, who was born and raised in Nigeria before moving to New Zealand, became the second African-born UFC champion after dethroning Robert Whittaker in October 2019.

He has since gone on to defend his crown four times in a row including wins over Paulo Costa, Yoel Romero and Marvin Vettori.

And now the Last Stylebender will run it back with ‘Bobby Knuckles’ on Saturday night this weekend aiming to defend his UFC middleweight title.

The pair will clash again early on Sunday morning in the main event of UFC 271 in Houston, Texas.

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He continued: “I’m still looking to capture that image of me, Kamaru and Francis as the three kings because we haven’t done that yet together.

“I understand what Kamaru says about competing because yeah we could do that.

“Come to the gym you’ll see me and Dan Hooker, me and Carlos Ulberg, me and Blood Diamond compete against each other.

“So me and Kamaru can do that, but for the world to see, it’s bigger than money. It’s not just about money. It’s about our nation, taking gold back to where it belongs.”

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