Usman Nearly Retired Because No One Wanted To Fight Him

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Kamaru Usman is currently the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight champion of the world, but it was something that nearly didn’t happen since “The Nigerian Nightmare” was close to retiring from the fight game just a few years ago.

According to Usman, he was so frustrated with the fact that he couldn’t lock down an opponent to meet him inside the Octagon, that he was very close to walking away from the fight game altogether.

“I honestly thought about quitting fighting. Because there were moments where I couldn’t get a fight. I couldn’t get guys to fight me because no one, guys really didn’t want to take the gamble by fighting me,” said Usman during a recent interview with TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter.

“You got all of these top 10 guys, top 15, and then you got a big shark that will eat up all of you guys, that is circling the waters around you guys. But nobody wanted to let me in the party,” he added.

“Everyone makes up a different excuse, ‘He needs to beat someone in the top 10 first.’ Or, ‘He’s not a good fighter, he’s boring.’ Everybody’s making all these different excuses because they know that I’m the big dog outside of this club. The top 10 top 15. And once I got in there, it was just a hassle to get these guys to fight, because they know what would happen: I would dominate them and eventually I would be the welterweight champion of the world, which is where I am at right now,” added the 170-pound kingpin.

Kamaru’s boiling point was in mid-2018 where he felt it was better to just leave the sport and do something else instead of just waiting around for someone willing and able to throw down.

“I was very close. Before I got the Santiago Ponzinibbio fight, which ended up not fighting, I was very close. I had like maybe five, actually, six or seven months of just sitting there trying to get somebody to fight me,” he said. “The organization kept saying, ‘That guy turned it down, that guy turned it down.’ So I was just like, there is no point.”

One of the men who Usman says repeatedly turned him down was none other than Colby Covington, the man he will face this Saturday night (Dec. 14, 2019) at UFC 245 via ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“And part of that is the opponent that I’m fighting. He has been offered to me several times, four times to be exact, and he’s turned them all down. So this is part of what contributed to my frustration at that point. So I was like, I should just walk.”

In the end, things worked out for “The Nigerian Nightmare,” who is on a 14 fight win streak, including winning all 10 of his fights inside the Octagon.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 245 fight card this weekend RIGHT HERE, starting with the Fight Pass/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN 2 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 245: “Usman vs. Covington” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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