Kamaru Usman doesn’t think Nate Diaz would want to fight him.
At UFC 262, Diaz is set to return to the Octagon against Leon Edwards in a highly-anticipated bout. It’s Diaz’s first fight since he suffered a TKO loss to Jorge Masvidal for the BMF title.
For Usman, he says he was surprised the fight was made but understands why both men took it.
“Yeah, it’s kind of a funky one,” Usman told ESPN (via MMAFighting). “They just kind of threw that in there on us but I like it. I really like the fight. I think it’s something that Leon Edwards desperately needed because I recognize his skills and I recognize how hard he’s worked since taking that loss to me. He’s worked very, very hard, he’s improved his wrestling, this guy is taking guys down, he’s submitting guys, he’s going the distance, five rounds with guys and he’s looking great.
“So I respect everything that he has done up to this point but the one thing that’s been lacking is the fact that he just didn’t have that recognition,” Usman said. “The casual fans, if you mention his name to them they’re like, ‘Who’s that?’ It sucks to say but that was the case so a fight like this is something that can give him that recognition. If he goes out there and does what I think he’s capable of doing, come that next week people will know who Leon Edwards is and he makes a strong case for himself. You can’t deny him at that point. Eight-fight win streak, with that fight it will probably be nine so yeah it’s tough to deny the man a title shot.”
If Diaz beats Edwards at UFC 262, Kamaru Usman says the Stockton native would be in line for a title shot. However, he says he doubts Diaz would take the fight.
“According to me? Absolutely,” Usman said when asked if Diaz would get a title shot with a win. “You know me. I don’t shy away from any challenge. I’ll take on anybody. But according to him? I think that’s the second case to where a fighter just flat out says, ‘You know what? I don’t even want a title shot. I’m good.’”
“I offered it to Conor when Conor was running his mouth that the third belt looked great to him and this and that and I said, ‘Yo, I’m here. I’m available. What date do you want to do it?’ But he was quiet,” Usman concluded. “He didn’t respond. So that’s the first case where a guy was like, ‘You know what? I don’t want none of those problems. I don’t want to do it.’ And I think this will probably be the second case. If he was able to get that win, I think he will definitely be turning down that title shot.”