Kamaru Usman eyes huge fight after UFC 278

UFC 268: Usman v Covington 2

UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman is set to defend his 170-pound title this weekend against British star Leon Edwards, but the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ is already looking beyond his UFC 278 opponent, laying down the challenge to another contender in the division.

Usman is regarded as the pound-for-pound greatest fighter in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, if not the whole of MMA, so getting on his radar means that you’re making a name for yourself.

The ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ has made challenges to various fighters over the past year, including making repeated calls for boxing great Canelo Alvarez to step into the ring with him.

Here is what Kamaru Usman had to say regarding the fight he is looking at following UFC 278 against Leon Edwards on Saturday, August 20th 2022.

Read More: UFC 278: Date, Announced Fight Card, Location, Kamaru Usman and more

Kamaru Usman on his next UFC fight

UFC 278 Press Conference
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JULY 01: UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is seen on stage during the UFC 276 ceremonial weigh-in at T-Mobile Arena on July 01, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Speaking to ESPN (via Sportskeeda), Usman has said that Khamzat Chimaev is on his radar, but he has more to do to prove himself in the company before they eventually lock up.

He said: “Oh, he said a lot of things. But he’s not the next guy up, so I don’t have to worry about him. When he is the next guy up, all those things come out. 

“You can’t think too far ahead and miss the mark of where I am right now. Leon is that guy… But Khamzat has said a few things, you know, they are just back there in the vault. When it’s time to go back there and open it up, we’ll open it up.”

Chimaev is one of the fastest rising stars in the UFC Welterweight division, and he has a massive fight of his own against octagon legend Nate Diaz in the main event of UFC 279 in September.

Usman has even said that he is more excited about a potential fight with Chimaev than he is with Edwards, noting to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto: “I would be lying if I said that I won’t be getting up much more for that one, because, hey, everywhere I go, people are gonna say — like Covington 1, everywhere I went in the world, people brought it up. 

If ‘Borz’ is able to get an emphatic win over Diaz, then there is a very good chance that the #3 ranked 170-pound could be next in line for the winner of Usman vs Edwards 2.

“So, it’s almost impossible not to get up for it. So, yeah, it’s almost gonna be impossible to say I won’t get up a little bit more for it. But I have to have the ability to restrain myself.”

What is guaranteed is that if Usman vs Chimaev gets booked for the Welterweight title at some point in early to mid-2023, then it will easily be one of the most hyped bouts of the year and will be a huge box office attraction.

There are two big main events that have to happen before we see that fight though, and there’s no guarantee that either Usman or Chimaev will come out as the victor at UFC 278 and UFC 279 respectively.

Read More: UFC 278 UK Start Time: Early Prelims, Prelims and Main Card

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