Usman eyed light heavyweight title fight vs. Blachowicz in 2021
UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman considered going for a second title in 2021 - but not just up one weight class at middleweight.
Instead, Usman wanted to move two divisions heavier and challenge Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight belt.
"I was going to skip (UFC middleweight champion) Israel (Adesanya) and go fight Jan at 205 (pounds)," Usman told GQ's Chris Gayomali in an interview published Wednesday. "Because I'm pound-for-pound, I want to prove it. No matter what weight it is, I thought he was a really good matchup for me."
Usman did not say whether the UFC expressed any interest in allowing him to fight Blachowicz in what would've been an unprecedented move in MMA. Blachowicz ultimately lost his belt to Glover Teixeira in October anyway, but Usman is confident he would've won despite the size disadvantage.
"I think I would beat him," Usman said.
Usman seemingly wanted to move up two weight classes due to his relationship with Adesanya. The two UFC champions are both from Nigeria and have become close in recent years; Usman insists he'll never fight Adesanya.
Usman, the No. 1-ranked male fighter in the UFC, defeated Colby Covington in November to retain his 170-pound title for the fifth time. He has been champion since 2019.
"The Nigerian Nightmare" is expected to face Leon Edwards later in 2022, though the fight hasn't been finalized.