top of page

How Kamaru Usman Got The Call To Fight Khamzat Chimaev After Sean Strickland Declined

Sean Strickland rejected an offer to fight Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 294 for his middleweight title. The original plan was Khamzat Chimaev (12-0 MMA) vs. Paulo Costa (14-2 MMA) at UFC 294. But Costa pulled out because of a bad staph infection. Kamaru Usman (20-3 MMA) agreed to replace Costa with only 10 days notice.

But before Usman, Sean Strickland was the first choice when Costa withdrew.

‘ESPN‘ says that Strickland, the new middleweight champion, turned down his first title defence against Chimaev at UFC 294 because it was too soon. Strickland had just beaten Israel Adesanya (24-3 MMA) by unanimous decision at UFC 293 last month and won the title.

After Strickland said no, Jared Cannonier (17-6 MMA) was the next option. But ‘The Killa Gorilla’ had an injury from training and could not take the fight.

Then they called Kamaru Usman.

Usman’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz told ‘ESPN’ what happened:

“Kamaru — his eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. I was like, ‘This guy knows something I don’t know.’ And he’s like, ‘Hey, they’re gonna take care of me (financially)?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ And he said, ‘Let’s do it.’”

This shows what happens behind the scenes when a fighter drops out of a big fight.

Usman, 36, was very happy to get the call and ready to fight ‘Borz’.


bottom of page