Israel Adesanya has ruled out a superfight with Kamaru Usman, claiming that he has ‘nothing to gain’ from a fight with the UFC welterweight champion.
After Usman’s UFC 268 victory over Colby Covington last November, a mouth-watering clash between the two, 32 and 35 years old, has been the talk of the internet for some time now, but nothing solid has ever materialised.
However, with both men presently holding the top spot in their respective weight classes, some MMA fans are anxious to see them face off in the cage to see who the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet is.
Usman’s manager Ali Abdelaziz has also hyped up the blockbuster fight, saying: “They’re cool but I don’t think they’re best friends.”
Adesanya, however, can’t see the fight happening anytime soon.
He told TSN. “Kamaru can speak for himself and he has, and I’ve spoken for myself and we said we wouldn’t fight each other. For me personally, it’s bigger than money. Also, I have nothing to gain.
“It’s the guy coming up from a lower weight class that looks to challenge himself that’s almost the protagonist of the story, that gets to rise to the occasion and that’s cool, but Kamaru’s not interested.
“Ali is just greedy. He sees dollar signs, but I’m like you can make that money elsewhere. But he’s just super greedy and for me, it’s bigger than money.
“If I was gonna do this s**t for money and retire, I would have retired three fights ago. I’m set, but nah, it’s bigger than money. It’s just about legacy.”
After dethroning Robert Whittaker in October 2019, Adesanya, who was born and reared in Nigeria before migrating to New Zealand, became the second African-born UFC champion.
He’s won four times in a row since then, including victories against Paulo Costa, Yoel Romero, and Marvin Vettori.
And now the Last Stylebender will defend his UFC middleweight title against ‘Bobby Knuckles’ on Saturday night this weekend (or early on Sunday morning Nigerian time) in the main event of UFC 271 in Houston, Texas.
He continued: “I’m still looking to capture that image of me, Kamaru and [UFC heavyweight champion, Cameroonian-born] Francis [Ngannou]as the three kings because we haven’t done that yet together.
“I understand what Kamaru says about competing because yeah we could do that.
“Come to the gym you’ll see me and Dan Hooker, me and Carlos Ulberg, me and Blood Diamond compete against each other.
“So me and Kamaru can do that, but for the world to see, it’s bigger than money. It’s not just about money. It’s about our nation, taking gold back to where it belongs.”