Usman (20-4 MMA, 15-3 UFC) fell short in his middleweight debut when he lost a majority decision to Khamzat Chimaev on short notice this past Saturday at UFC 294. After a 10-8 Round 1 for Chimaev, Usman rallied, but ultimately it wasn’t enough to earn him a win.
Whittaker (25-7 MMA, 15-5 UFC) thought Usman looked “sensational” and urged the former UFC welterweight champion to stick around at 185 pounds. If he does decide to, Whittaker would love to fight him.
“I am happy Chimaev and Usman, that fight did happen,” Whittaker said on his MMArcade Podcast. “It just adds more blood to the top of the game. It adds more boys to the top of the charts, which is interesting fights. What’s next for Usman? Is he going to stay at middleweight? I don’t know. But that fight interests me. I like that fight. I’d fight a middleweight Usman.”
Like Usman, Whittaker is also looking to rebound. The former UFC middleweight champion is coming off a TKO loss to Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 290 in July and thinks someone with Usman’s accolades should be fighting the upper echelon of the division.
“I don’t think it’s a bad fight to have,” Whittaker continued. “Like, what are you going to do, make Usman fight through ranks 30-20 to get to the top tier? Consecutive defending welterweight champion, he definitely deserves to fight at the top of the charts of the middleweight division.
“How well he’ll do, we will see. But seeing fresh blood at the top of the game, that’s interesting. I like it. Seeing Chimaev and Strickland fighting, I think that moves things around. I like it. It makes things interesting and exciting. I am here for it. I hope he stays. Stick around, Usman. It’s fun up here, mate.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 294.