UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman says he is not interested in a fight against fellow Nigerian and middleweight champion of the UFC, Israel Adesanya.
Nearly two weeks ago, Usman told GQ that he was looking to bypass the middleweight division and challenge Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight title before he lost to Glover Teixeira last October at UFC 267.
Since then, much conversation has been made about Usman challenging Adesanya for the middleweight title to attempt to become a champion in two weight divisions.
“Moving up [to middleweight], I’ve said it before. As long as Israel Adesanya is the champion, I have no interest in going there,” Usman told Jim Rome on Wednesday. “But when Jan Blachowicz was the champion at light heavyweight, of course I thought it was a great match up.”
“Ive said it before,” Usman added when asked why not fight Adesanya. “He’s a fellow Nigerian. He’s a good guy. I like him. I like his approach and I would rather two Nigerians with belts than one Nigerian with two belts.”
However, Usman did outline the one scenario that would get him to consider fighting his ‘blood brother’ Adesanya.
“If Dana [White] is willing to sit us down and say, ‘$100 million, he guys, let’s split this up.’ At that point me and Israel would have to talk. Because at that point, me and my little brother, my blood brother, we would have to talk and say ‘Hey, let’s go out here and let’s make this money.”
When asked about the potential for a fight between himself and surging welterweight contender, Khamzat Chimaev, Usman said ‘Of course’ he’s interested in that fight.
“There’s a reason [why] there’s a structure to get [to the championship]. So he’s done great with the opposition that he’s been presented. And by the time he gets here – once he gets here, of course we’ll have that conversation.
“But I am the champion. I am the pound for pound best in the world. I am the king of the castle. Everybody wants a piece of me. So that’s good, I like that. .. Now that I’m at the top, these guys have to call me out and these guys have to come to me. So, when they make it up here, I’ll be here waiting.”
Usman is currently healing from hand ligament surgery, which he underwent just a couple days ago on February 8.
Per his manager, Ali Abdelaziz, he is expected to make his return by international fight week for UFC 276 on July 2nd in Las Vegas. His rumored opponent is Leon Edwards, however, the fight is not official at this time.