EXCLUSIVE | Kamaru Usman is willing to fight Demian Maia, but doubts Brazilian would accept

Kamaru Usman

In the last 36 hours or so, the majority of the UFC’s top, available welterweights have all been linked to exciting new matchups.

Rafael dos Anjos and Colby Covington are expected to scrap for the interim title at UFC 224 in Rio de Janeiro. Darren Till and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson are expected to battle in the main event of the UFC’s upcoming trip to Liverpool. Santiago Ponzinibbio is expected to take on Neil Magny in Chile this May 19…

A closer look at the welterweight top-10, however, reveals that one welterweight contender has been left out in the cold: Kamaru Usman. Try as he might, “The Nigerian Nightmare” just can’t seem to find himself a willing opponent.

Speaking to BJPenn.com’s Tom Taylor on Thursday, Usman gave his take on the situation. In his eyes, his peers in the welterweight are avoiding him because they know they can’t beat him.

“Everyone seems to just be picking favorable matchups that could get them wins and the UFC is allowing it to happen,” Usman said. “None of them want to fight me because they don’t see themselves winning. It’s as simple as that.”

When asked if there are any remaining, available members of the welterweight top-10 that he would still be willing to fight, Usman admitted he’d accept a fight with former title challenger Demian Maia. That being said, he’s worried Maia will refuse to fight him just like so many others have.

“Maia,” he said. “But I’m pretty sure we already know the answer to that.”

“I highly doubt [he’d accept].”

With so many of the welterweight division’s big names now off the table, who would you like to see Kamaru Usman fight next? Do you think Demian Maia is the best available choice? Join the conversation in the comments section below.

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/23/2018.