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Kamaru Usman Interested in Moving to Light Heavyweight After Leon Edwards Fight

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 20, 2022

Kamaru Usman (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Kamaru Usman said he's planning a two-division jump to light heavyweight after defending the welterweight championship against Leon Edwards at UFC 278 on Saturday night.

Usman told TMZ Sports he wants to become a multi-division champion but isn't interested in a face-off with his friend Israel Adesanya, the middleweight title-holder, so he's instead eyeing a showdown with Jiri Prochazka for the light heavyweight belt.

"A lot of people think I'm joking when I say [I wanna move up]. I wanted to skip—skip middleweight and I want the light heavyweight belt because I wanna be a two-division champion," Usman said. "One, not only am I the best in the world, but I wanna prove that I am the pound-for-pound best, so I'm gonna skip that pound-for-pound, I'm gonna take that light heavyweight belt and I'm gonna defend the belt."

Usman has held the welterweight title since beating Tyron Woodley in March 2019, and his last loss came against Jose Caceres in May 2013, long before the Nigerian Nightmare took the UFC by storm.

So it's not a surprise he's looking for a new challenge, and going all the way up to light heavyweight without a stop at middleweight would be quite the physical test.

Usman told TMZ he'd want to serve as a true dual champion too, which would include a series of weight cuts and gains to defend both titles.

"I'll defend both belts so people can really understand what it means to be pound-for-pound," he said. "Not just this fictitious stuff that they make up. When I actually go up and do it and I walk away from the sport, I'll let you decide what you wanna call me or my legacy."

He can't afford to overlook Edwards heading into Saturday's rematch, though.

The 30-year-old British star has compiled a 9-0 record with one no-contest since his loss to Usman in December 2015.

Edwards said Wednesday he doesn't think his opponent is some type of unstoppable force heading into their second meeting.

"All this pound-for-pound talk, I don't see it," he told reporters. "I don't see it in his fights, I don't see it in his techniques. He's a very good fighter, he has improved. I'm not going into this flight blind thinking he's another wrestler, but I just don't see it."

Ending Edwards' unbeaten streak would be another sign Usman is ready for a new test the next time he enters the Octagon.

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