UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman ponders next move, including boxing match vs. Jake Paul

UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman believes he has a wealth of choices for his subsequent battle — and sure, these choices embody a boxing match towards YouTube star Jake Paul.

Usman (19-1) is lower than two weeks faraway from his fourth title protection at UFC 261 in Jacksonville, the place he knocked out Jorge Masvidal with a monstrous proper hand within the second spherical. Usman was voted ESPN’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter on the planet the next week.

On Thursday, Usman, 33, informed ESPN he desires to stay energetic. He isn’t bought, nonetheless, on any particular opponent. His present choices embody Colby Covington (16-2), Michael Chiesa (17-4), the winner of the battle between Leon Edwards (18-3) and Nate Diaz (20-12) at UFC 263 on June 12, and even middleweight contender Marvin Vettori (17-3-1), if Vettori upsets Israel Adesanya (20-1) that very same evening.

“I believe [UFC 263] is a crucial evening for these fights to play out,” Usman stated. “Sure, I do need to see how these play out. If Leon seems to be spectacular, it might make sense. If Nate seems to be spectacular, that would make sense as properly. With the entire Marvin state of affairs, I do not need to essentially give it some thought, as a result of I am 100% behind Izzy on that. I believe he can pull it out. But when there was ever a case the place I might really go up and problem for that [second] belt, it might be with out Izzy within the image. So, if Izzy is not the champ, it is one thing we will check out.”

Usman, who trains out of Denver, is much less concerned about a rematch towards Covington, whom he beat in 2019. The UFC has indicated Covington is subsequent. Usman stated he is not towards it, however it’s not his first alternative.

“I am not going to say I do not need the battle,” Usman stated. “I need all of the smoke. It does not matter who it’s. I need all of the smoke. On the finish of the day, what has [Covington] achieved to earn this? Your declare to fame cannot be, ‘I went 5 rounds [in their title fight in 2019] and the man broke my jaw and completed the battle.'”

After all, the wildcard in all of that is Paul, who has disrupted the fight sports activities world during the last two years. As knowledgeable boxer, Paul is 3-0 with three knockouts. Final month, he knocked out retired UFC welterweight Ben Askren within the first spherical, and he has supplied to battle Usman on social media.

Usman admitted Paul’s antics have drawn his consideration, and he isn’t against holding a dialogue with UFC president Dana White on a possible boxing match towards Paul.

“He is beginning to suppose he is a fighter, and that is the state we’re in,” Usman stated. “YouTube fighters selecting fights with precise fighters. It is a no-lose state of affairs for them as a result of in the event that they go in and get beat up, they nonetheless make some huge cash. That child is dangerously near taking me to that violent place. He has no enterprise mentioning my identify in his mouth. And now he is placing footage of me and my household out, so it is beginning to slowly shift to that place the place it might be an issue.

“I believe with the precise presentation and if it is sensible — on the finish of the day, Dana shouldn’t be the very best promoter within the sport for no purpose. He is aware of what he is doing. If it is sensible for him, it is a type of conversations we’d need to have. If it makes {dollars}, typically it is sensible. Who is aware of? We would need to have that speak.”

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