Usman (20-4 MMA, 15-3 UFC) lost a majority decision to Khamzat Chimaev (13-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) on Saturday at Etihad Arena on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. He accepted the fight with only 10 days’ notice. Despite the circumstances, Usman believes that with a proper training camp, the outcome could have been different. He also admits that he made some mistakes regardless of the preparation.
“Losing two narrow fights to Leon (Edwards) after such a long unbeaten streak, you start to question and doubt yourself,” revealed Usman during the ESPN+ post-fight show. “You almost forget what it feels like. If there’s one thing I can take away from tonight, it’s that I need to have more confidence in myself and trust my coaches. We will bounce back.
“Facing a young, hungry bull like him on short notice, someone who grew into this weight class for a year and a half, while I didn’t fully trust my condition, it’s not the way a champion fighter should start,” continued Usman. “Give me a few extra rounds, and the result might be different.”
The middleweight fight at UFC 294 marked Usman’s first appearance in the division in the promotion. While his future remains uncertain, UFC President Dana White expressed openness to Usman competing in either weight class based on his preference.
“That’s up to him,” said White during a post-fight news conference. “He has done it all. When you look at his career and what he has achieved, he is the greatest welterweight of all time. He deserves more recognition. He stepped up and took this fight at 185. I’m supportive of whatever he wants to do.”
For more information about the event, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 294.
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