UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has revealed he would be interested moving up to the middleweight division, but only if his friend Israel Adesanya was no longer champion.
Usman says he would ‘absolutely’ consider stepping up to 185 pounds after he beat Gilbert Burns 34 seconds into the third round at UFC 258 – taking his record to 18-1, defending his title for the third time, and breaking Georges St Pierre’s consecutive welterweight victories record in the process.
However, the Nigerian-born Texan has admitted the move is dependent on Adesanya as he ‘would never entertain going up to fight Izzy’ and claims he would rather ‘two Africans held belts than one African with two belts’.
The Nigerian Nightmare – who is set for welterweight rematches against Jorge Masvidal, Colby Covington, and Leon Edwards added he would consider the step up if Adesanya says he wants ‘nothing to do with’ the middleweight anymore.
He told ESPN: ‘Absolutely, absolutely. If Izzy’s willing to move up well he is moving up, but if he’s willing to give up that 185 belt and says “I have nothing to do with that anymore”, then absolutely I would entertain that thought.’
Usman and Adesanya are regarded as two of the most dominant champions in the UFC at present, but neither of them will lay a glove on each other due to a long-standing friendship.
However, it is likely that Adesanya will step up a weight class to fight Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight title.