Kamaru Usman thinks it’s about time Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Co. hop on the Nigerian train.
The top Welterweight contender appeared on a recent edition of The MMA Hour to express his disdain for the promotion’s failure to promote him or give a prime spot on a fight card.
This, despite the fact that he’s won all of six of his fights inside the Octagon, including season 21 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), as well as knocking out Sergio Moraes in the very first round in his previous outing at UFC Fight Night 116.
According to Usman, his time is now, but seems to think perhaps UFC isn’t ready to push him because they don’t have a TV deal in his home country of Nigeria.
“I’ve been ready for that. I don’t know if they think, ‘Well, he’s from Nigeria and we haven’t really broken into that market yet, so we can’t really sell a lot of fights there or we don’t have a TV contract there so what’s the point of pushing a guy that’s from that area in Africa,” he said.
Usman moved stateside when he was five years of age, but still holds Nigeria close to his heart. That said, the fact that he’s won 10 straight fights, is not too bad on the eyes and his confidence is off the charts further proves that there is no other rhyme or reason as to why he’s not getting the PR love.
“I’d like to think that’s what it is because it can’t be anything else. You can’t say that I don’t have the skills, you can’t say that. I have the skills. You can’t say I don’t have the confidence, because I have that. You can’t say I don’t have the belief, because I have that,” he added.
“I’m not the ugliest guy in the world, it’s not that I’m not marketable. I mean, come on, it makes no sense as to why they are not doing except for, ‘Oh well we haven’t broken into Africa, so there is no point in pushing someone from there.’”
Still, Usman says his management team will handle that part of the business and he’ll continue to rack up wins inside the eight-sided cage to further up his stock and perhaps gets some shine in the spotlight.
And if it were up to him, he’d love to face Rafael dos Anjos next, a fight he’s been trying to pick since knocking out Moraes, as he takes exception to the fact that “RDA” is ranked higher than him after only two wins at 170 pounds.
Of course, Rafael’s tenure as Lightweight champion may have had something to do with his top-five ranking.
If he can’t score a fight against “RDA,” Usman wouldn’t mind duking it out with Mike Perry, someone he says won’t duck him.
As far as UFC pushing Francis Ngannou — who is from the Republic of Cameroon — Usman says it’s two different scenarios, as the promotion has no other choice but to push him since there is not a lot of top draws at Heavyweight. Plus, admittedly, Francis has been putting in the work and racking up the victories and is someone UFC would want as champion.
At welterweight, however, Kamaru says there are far more options UFC prefers to have as the division champion other than himself; perhaps someone like Stephen Thompson.