Set to make an impromptu return to the Octagon next weekend in the co-main event of UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi, UAE – former undisputed welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman has detailed how exactly his blockbuster middleweight debut against the unbeaten, Khamzat Chimaev came to fruition as he prepares to jet out to the Middle East.
Kamaru Usman, a former undisputed welterweight champion under the banner of the UFC and former pound-for-pound number one fighter on the promotion’s books, has been sidelined from the Octagon since suffering a trilogy rubber-match loss to Leon Edwards in a majority decision title fight defeat at UFC 286 back in March.
Initially announcing plans for a quickfire comeback to the sport following his decider loss to Edwards, Auchi native, Kamaru Usman suggested a catchweight fight with the aforementioned, Khamzat Chimaev in his return to the Octagon.
Instead, the promotion would book the Chechen-born finisher against former middleweight title chaser, Paulo Costa in the co-main event of UFC 294 at the Etihad Arena.
And following the fallout of a lightweight title fight between Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira, the latter’s compatriot, Costa was also forced off the billing, through a nasty bursitis infection in his elbow.
Kamaru Usman shares how fight with Khamzat Chimaev came about
As a result, the above-mentioned matchup of Kamaru Usman and Khamzat Chimaev has been added to UFC 294 on short-notice – with the former champion detailing how the matchup actually came to fruition just 10 days’ out.
“I’m excited right now about maybe winning the jackpot of a billion dollars in the lottery, you know,” Kamaru Usman told TMZ. “So, I’m excited. And I’m like, okay, let’s – first and foremost I always – I call my coaches and I throw the idea at them. And, no one talked me out of it.”
“So, I’m like, okay. I said, let me sleep on it,” Kamaru Usman explained. “‘Cause I don’t want to be hasty and do something unintelligent, so let me sleep on it. And I woke up the next day with let’s get ready. So I texted Ali (Abdelaziz) and said, ‘Let’s do this.’”