Fresh off a dominant decision victory over former UFC middleweight and welterweight title challenger Demian Maia, surging welterweight Kamaru Usman wants a crack at divisional kingpin Tyron Woodley. He feels it’s a fight he’s earned, and interestingly, an easier fight than the one he just had with Maia.
“I think I should fight for the belt next,” Usman said at the post-fight press conference for the UFC’s debut in Santiago, Chile, where he defeated Maia (via MMA Fighting). “I just dominated [Maia] better than [UFC champion] Tyron Woodley. Tyron ran from him the whole fight. Tyron threw, what, the fewest strikes in a championship fight ever? And I just went out and I dominated the guy from start to finish.”
Usman also feels Colby Covington and Rafael dos Anjos, who battle for the interim welterweight title at UFC 225, are easier opponents than Maia.
“The champion is easier for me to fight,” he said. “And you’ve got these other two bums that are fighting for an interim title, those guys are bums, those guys are easier for me to fight. This was the hardest fight in the division.”
Having dominated Maia so emphatically over their five-round contest, Usman feels he’s proved he’s ready for a title shot. That being said, he’d be willing to accept a bout with the winner of Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson vs. Darren Till’s upcoming fight too.
“Upwards and onward,” Usman said. “It’s either Woodley or the winner of [Darren] Till and [Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson]. That’s it.”
With his win over Maia, Usman improved to a truly impressive 13-1 overall. His last eight wins have occurred in the UFC’s Octagon, where he’s bested Hayder Hassan, Leon Edwards, Alexander Yakovlev, Warlley Alves, Sean Strickland, Sergio Moraes, Emil Meek, and of course, Maia.
Who do you want to see Kamaru Usman fight next?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/20/2018.