Ahead of his fourth attempted UFC welterweight title defence this weekend at UFC 261, Kamaru Usman has admitted that while he’s “motivated” to score an even more impressive win over Jorge Masvidal in their rematch, he realizes that his career could come to an end in the not too distant future.
As dominant a welterweight champion in recent memory, the promotional-perfect wrestling ace turned in an impressive third-round knockout victory over former Sanford MMA teammate, Gilbert Burns in the main event of UFC 258 in February — utilizing a particularly punishing jab to sit the Brazilian down on three separate occasions.
The victory came as Usman’s third successful defence of the welterweight championship, following a July unanimous decision win over the above-mentioned, Masvidal, and a December 2019 knockout stoppage over arch-rival, Colby Covington.
Usman, the victor of The Ultimate Fighter 21 welterweight tournament, has turned in a promotional-perfect 12-0 record since. Including his trio of wins over Burns, Masvidal, and Covington, Usman has also notched triumphs over former lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos, multiple-time title challenger, Demian Maia, and a December 2015 unanimous decision win over surging welterweight contender, Leon Edwards.
In the midst of one of the most dominant runs in recent UFC memory, Usman has admitted that while he’s still motivated to do one better and turn in an even more standout performance this weekend, the option of “walking away” from professional mixed martial arts is something that may be on the horizon.
“That’s a really, really good question because I’m asking myself that as well,” Usman said during a recent interview with MMA Fighting reporter, Damon Martin. “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. Like I said, we’re on track right now, I’m just so far ahead of these guys that I’m coming back around and I’m lapping them now. So, talking to some of my mentors, and some of the greatest that have done this, what they’re telling me at some point it’s going to start, that waking up in the morning and going to the gym to put in a day’s work is going to start to get heavier and heavier when nothing really motivates me like that anymore.“
“So this one (against Masvidal), I’m motivated because I didn’t really feel like I got that fix,” Usman explained. “I still have that fear in me. I want to go out there and get this one but after this, we have to really take a hard look and see what there is out there for me. Because it’s not these guys. Whether it’s coming over and doing something else or maybe walking away, you never know.“
Whilst Usman clearly wants to see someone worthy of earning a title shot from his welterweight chasers emerge to keep his interest piqued, UFC president, Dana White has claimed that should the Auchi native overcome Masvidal once again at the Vystar Veteran’s Memorial Arena this weekend, the aforenoted, Covington will await him in a title rematch.