UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has suggested he could walk away from the Octagon after his main event showdown with Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261 in Jacksonville, Florida on Saturday night.
‘The Nigerian Nightmare,’ speaking in an interview with MMA Fighting, said that he could walk away from MMA after defending his title in his rematch with ‘Gamebred’ this weekend, claiming that he would have effectively cleared out the welterweight division.
“Being a realist, and I’m honest with myself, and I know that I can’t do this forever, and I don’t want to do this forever,” Usman said. “Like I said, we’re on a track right now, and I’m just so far ahead of these guys that I’m coming back around and I’m lapping them now.”
“Talking to some of my mentors and some of the greats that have done this, what they’re telling me is that, at some point, it’s gonna start to…that waking up in the morning and heading to the gym to put in daily work is gonna start to get heavier and heavier when nothing really motivates me like that anymore. So this one, like I said, I’m motivated because I didn’t feel like I got that fix. I still have that feeling in me. And so I want to go out there and get this one.”
“But after this one, we have to take a really hard look and see what there is out there for me because it’s not these guys. So whether it’s crossing over and doing something else or maybe walking away, you never know.”
The move would echo that of Khabib Nurmagomedov, who retired undefeated and as the longest reigning lightweight UFC in history when he left the sport in March. Usman is similarly undefeated in the UFC at 13-0 and the 33-year-old also holds the record for the longest winning streak at 170 lbs.
Usman vs Masvidal in one of three world title fights on offer at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena this weekend including Zhang Weili vs Rose Namajunas at strawweight and Valentina Shevchenko vs Jessica Andrade at flyweight.