Ali Abdelaziz wants his client Kamaru Usman to move up to the UFC middleweight division and fight for the title.
Abdelaziz, the CEO of Dominance MMA, said the only roadblock between Usman and a second title is his client's friendship with reigning 185-pound champion Israel Adesanya. In an interview with ESPN's Brett Okamoto, the combat sports manager said:
"Israel is his friend and everything, (but) I want to fight him to go to middleweight division and fight for the middleweight title."
However, Abdelaziz believes personal relationships should not get in the way of producing blockbuster fights. The Egyptian-born businessman added:
"It doesn't matter. I don't want him to fight his friend, that's what he believes in. But, you know, if it's two good friends – Mike Tyson told me this – if we're friends, let's make some money, man, and after that, we can shake hands. But I respect their friendship. I'm never gonna get in between that, but at the end of the day, if (Robert) Whittaker wins, Kamaru can go up and fight Whittaker, too. He'll whoop Whittaker."
Ali Abdelaziz maintained that he would respect Usman's wishes to stay out of Adesanya's path. However, he teased that a move up to middleweight is still on the table if Robert Whittaker reclaims the crown from 'The Last Stylebender.' Usman has repeatedly said in past interviews that he doesn't intend on fighting his "brother" Adesanya.
Watch Ali Abdelaziz talk about Kamaru Usman's potential move to middleweight below:
Ali Abdelaziz says Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez is another option for Kamaru Usman
Kamaru Usman recently hinted at a potential crossover bout with boxing superstar Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez. Speaking with The Schmo, the UFC welterweight champ revealed that his camp is eyeing a mega-matchup with Canelo in the same vein as 2017's Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor.
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For now, though, 'The Nigerian Nightmare' is gearing up for his championship clash against Colby Covington at UFC 268. It will be a rematch of their UFC 245 title bout, which saw Usman retain the crown via fifth-round TKO. The pay-per-view event will take place on November 6 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.