NEW YORK — Kamaru Usman has one of the top fighters in the world in his crosshairs. It just so happens that it’s not a fellow MMA fighter.
The UFC welterweight champion and ESPN’s No. 1-ranked pound-for-pound mixed martial artist said Wednesday at UFC 268 media day that he is targeting a boxing match with Canelo Alvarez in the future.
Usman said it could be billed as a first-time matchup between the top pound-for-pound MMA fighter against the top pound-for-pound boxer in their primes.
“I think that’s something that [would be] the biggest ever in history,” Usman said. “That’s what I’m looking to do. That’s something that scares me. That’s something that gets me up in the morning. That’s something that I might risk leaving my daughter for another 12 weeks for.”
Usman defends his title against Colby Covington in a rematch Saturday at Madison Square Garden. Alvarez’s pay-per-view bout against Caleb Plant will go head-to-head with UFC 268 on Saturday from Las Vegas. If he beats Covington, Usman said he’d talk with UFC president Dana White about putting together the bout with Alvarez. Usman said he has not yet spoken about this with White, but he’s sure White is “hearing about it now.”
“We’ll see who does better,” Usman said. “We’re both in the business of entertainment nowadays. He’s gonna entertain on the same night. So will we. We’ll see who does better numbers and then we’re gonna sit there and we’ll have a discussion with the pound-for-pound best promoter in the game Dana White and we’ll try to make something happen.”
Usman, a 34-year-old former NCAA Division II wrestling All-American, has 14 straight UFC victories, the second most in history behind all-time great Anderson Silva (16). Usman beat Tyron Woodley for the UFC welterweight title at UFC 235 in March 2019 and now has four successful title defenses. The Nigeria native has not lost a fight since 2013, and Covington will be his second straight title rematch after Usman knocked out Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261 in April.
A Canelo bout, Usman said, would be something totally different and the kind of challenge he wants.
“He’s a master of his craft,” Usman said of Canelo. “He’s used to these boxers. He’s used to the boxing speed and the boxing movements and things like that. We’re different. Sometimes different can be good. What’s wrong with giving him a different look? Of course, it’s a tall tree to climb, but we saw what happened the last time I was the underdog.”