Welcome to Midnight Mania!
I’m not sure what Kamaru Usman was going to be doing tomorrow morning (Saturday, October 21, 2023), but he was never slated to face Khamzat Chimaev in the co-main event of UFC 294. When Costa was pushed out due to an inflamed elbow, the UFC initially looked to Jared Cannonier for a replacement, but an injury to the Texan opened the door for “The Nigerian Nightmare” to save the day.
Not everyone is thrilled.
The match against Chimaev was offered to UFC Middleweight champion Sean Strickland, but he declined… because he’s the freaking champion and just won a five-round fight last month! However, Usman, according to Strickland, is a man with nothing to lose and a lot of money to gain. As a result, he does not regard the outcome to be official.
“Here’s the thing: Usman is not in a camp, (Chimaev) has been bulking up to middleweight, and Usman took this fight for a paycheck,” Strickland explained on his YouTube channel (via MMAJunkie). “‘Hey, Usman,’ they (UFC) said. Here are a couple of million dollars. Do you want to participate in this fight? We’ll hand it over to you.’ ‘I can’t say no,’ Usman said. I intend to do it.’
“It’s a win-win situation for Usman.” So, I don’t think that counts because Chimaev has been training his d—k off and fattening up for middleweight, and Usman has said, ‘I’m going to take this and grab a salary.’ This seems like a bulls—t fight to me. They only needed a seat filled, and I got Chimaev.”
Strickland believes Usman is the superior fighter. He believes the deck is stacked against him, and thus believes Chimaev will win the bout.
“Usman is a vet, and that comes with patience and skill,” Strickland added. “170 pounds, full camp, Usman.” Usman, 170, full camp, five rounds. I got Chimaev after three rounds of coming off the f—king couch.”