Kamaru Usman remembers being at Tyron Woodley's after-party and having a thought as the new UFC welterweight champion celebrates his title.
Standing side by side with Rashad Evans after Robbie Lawler's dazzling first-round win over Woodley in 2016, Usman wondered if he had usurped the throne.
"All the while, all I could think was," Man, I'll take this belt to this guy someday, "Usman told MMAjunkie," I do not know how I'm going to do it right now. .. but I'm going to have this guy's belt. "
As long as they know each other, that's how it's done for Usman. Until the UFC belt was at hand, however, he kept his thoughts to himself.
Usman (14-1 MMA, 9-0 UFC) and Woodley (19-3-1 MMA, 9-2-1 UFC) are not necessarily friends, said Usman, but they have been cool and friendly over the years. years. Colleagues on the same path to greatness and wealth.
It still has not changed the ultimate goal of Usman.
"I do not think he's been aware of it, but I've always enjoyed it every time," Usman said. The shot is given Saturday at the head of the UFC 235 conference at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
At the recent press conference, the viewer experienced a different experience for Usman. But this is a picture he has been representing for a long time.
"My moment is here, and when we met, it just invigorated the thought in my mind," Usman said. "It's the guy we signed for years and years … and now the time has come."
Woodley has so far pushed all the challengers to his belt, hiring striking specialists and submission artists to hold the belt over four fights. Usman, meanwhile, remains undefeated in the Octagon after nine fights and won his title with a dominant win over former lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos, who convinced the UFC to let him escape the former interim champion, Colby Covington.
So close to him and Woodley, Usman feels he's not the only one watching a colleague.
"Tyron knows," said Usman. "It's been a long time since he's paying attention to me because he knew I was going to be that guy against whom he was going to have to defend himself. He knew I would be the hardest guy to face. He and I both know it. I'm waiting for a war. That's all I can say. "
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