This weekend’s UFC 294 pay-per-view will mark a big one for ex-welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, who wasn’t even expected to be on the lineup until just a few days ago.
After suffering a second straight loss at the hands of current 170-pound kingpin Leon Edwards this past March at UFC 286 in London, Kamaru Usman’s future was somewhat uncertain.
But following Paulo Costa’s forced withdrawal from the UFC 294 card on October 21, “The Nigerian Nightmare” answered the call for a short-notice collision in the cage with the undefeated Khamzat Chimaev.
With “Borz” moving up following a weight debacle ahead of his last appearance in 2022, Usman’s trip to Abu Dhabi will see him enter the Octagon as a middleweight for the very first time.
Recently, the former champ expressed his desire to win the 185-pound belt before returning to welterweight to reclaim the crown there.
A frequent training partner and close friend of Khamzat Chimaev’s, however, expects the Chechen-born UAE representative to quickly halt those plans inside the Etihad Arena this Saturday.
Darren Till Predicts Khamzat Chimaev To ‘Run Over’ Kamaru Usman
During an interview with The Schmo while in attendance at the recent Misfits Boxing event in Manchester, England, ex-UFC fighter Darren Till was asked for his thoughts on Khamzat Chimaev’s highly anticipated return.
Despite giving respect to all that Kamaru Usman has achieved inside the Octagon, “The Gorilla” unsurprisingly backed his friend to add to his woes come fight night on UAE soil. In fact, the Liverpool native is even expecting “Borz” to utterly dominate “The Nigerian Nightmare.”
“I’m trying to get there. I love Khamzat, God bless him,” Till said. “Usman’s got balls, but I just think Khamzat’s gonna run over him, I do. As much as I’m his friend, I’m his biggest fan, Khamzat, I think he’s gonna run over Usman. All respect to him, he’s a GOAT. But yeah, I think Khamzat’s gonna rag-doll him, sorry to say… Good luck to Khamzat next week, my brother.”
While perhaps not as emphatically, the oddsmakers appear to somewhat agree with Till’s sentiment. Upon the announcement regarding Kamaru Usman’s late-notice matchup with Khamzat Chimaev, the former champ opened as the biggest betting underdog of his career to date.
The only other time Kamaru Usman wasn’t the favorite for a UFC fight, he overcame the odds to dethrone Tyron Woodley in dominant fashion back in 2019 — a feat he’ll hope to repeat at the expense of “Borz” this weekend.