Kamaru Usman has come out with a series of names for him to potentially face in his next fight. The former Welterweight champ is coming off of a decision defeat to Leon Edwards where he failed to regain his welterweight title. His next fight will mark the first time in over four years that he will not be involved in a title showdown.
Despite the loss to Edwards, Usman seems relatively nonchalant about the whole affair and described himself as “having fun with it” when discussing future names for him to possibly step in the cage with. The three names mentioned directly by the Nigerian Nightmare were those of Khamzat Chimaev, Stephen Thompson and of course, Conor Mcgregor.
The most intriguing of these names is Khamzat Chimaev. While Stephen Thompson has recently had his fight with Michel Pereira cancelled and Conor McGregor is lined up with Michael Chandler, Chimaev is yet to officially announce his future plans. Despite this, his future in the welterweight division remained extremely unclear after missing weight by a large margin in his last contest.
With plenty of talk of moving up to Middleweight many expected Chimaev to face Paulo Costa sometime later on in the year, likely the Abu Dhabi card. Yet if there was one fight that could convince Chimaev to stay in the welterweight division it would surely be a chance to take on one of the greatest welterweights who has ever done it in Usman.
Usman stated regarding the matchup “that’s a fight right there. That could headline a pay per view” in an interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. Chimaev has responded to the call out by Usman with a cryptic which roughly translated to “someone needs to be retired”.
Надо кое кого отравить на пенсию 🤝
— Khamzat Chimaev (@KChimaev) May 2, 2023
It is clear that Usman has got the attention of Chimaev. Of particular note, Usman made several comments regarding the weight class of the possible match-up. He stated that if Chimaev planned on ever getting a title shot at 170lbs then he would have to get used to making the weight and it would be a welterweight fight. Yet if the bout did take place at Middleweight, Usman did not discredit the idea stating “And if it’s up a weight, yeah potentially as well”.
The implications of a fight like this for both men would be huge. A win for Chimaev is a massive name for his resume and sees him undefeated in the organisation with wins already over top fighters such as Gilbert Burns and Kevin Holland.
Particularly if the fight is at Middleweight, with a CV like that and the shallowness of the Middleweight division it is not hard to imagine Chimaev getting a title shot at Israel Adesanya if he was able to pick up the victory over Usman at 185lbs. This would undoubtedly be the biggest fight of his career so far and would likely gift him a title shot in both divisions if he can overcome Usman.
The same can not be said for the former 170lbs champ. First of all, he has made it very clear that as long as Israel Adesanya is king of the Middleweights he will not attempt to scale up the division. That leaves him stuck at 170 lbs.
Now on a two-fight losing streak and with the likes of Chimaev, Burns, Colby Covington, Belal Muhmmad and Shavkat Rakhmonov to name but a few looking to get their shot at gold. With several names ahead of him in the queue after his two losses to Edwards, It is unlikely that he would be given another title fight even if he does get the win over Chimaev. Probably about two fights away from the title bout at the moment, Usman needs to ensure that his name stays relevant and that he beats top contenders in the division over the next several months to a year. Give it some time and once the opportunity to swoop back in the title picture arises he will be in a prime position to capitalise.