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Kamaru Usman: ‘I’m high enough’ in status to no longer be ‘back-up’ fighter

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UFC welterweight contender Kamaru Usman was present during UFC 228 two weekends ago in Dallas. According to him, he was tapped as a possible replacement fighter, should anything happen to either Tyron Woodley or Darren Till, both of whom were slated to headline the card.

These days, however, “The Nigerian Nightmare” says he will no longer be considering taking on such a role.

“I think I’m high enough to where I’m in a position I don’t have to that anymore,” Usman told ESPN. “I did it for this fight because I want to be the champion [but] they put another guy ahead of me. I’ve already proved I have what it takes to be the champion, I’m right there.”

Currently undefeated in the UFC since being signed in 2015, Usman feels he will get his due title shot sooner than later. With his championship aspirations in mind, the 31-year-old fighter also wants to make sure that he gets to face Colby Covington sometime down the line.

”This is the thing, if they put Colby in front of me then yes. Of course, if I had a choice I’d take the championship fight because the life of a challenger is way different than the life of a champion,” Usman said.

”[But] I’d definitely take that belt, and then go out and beat [Covington]. I really want to beat him up, but he doesn’t supersede the reason I joined and I got into this sport, which is becoming a champion.”

The UFC already announced that Woodley will be defending his title against Covington, next. No fight date has been set, but according to the champion, he is willing to make it happen at UFC 230 in early November if he gets cleared by doctors from the thumb injury he is currently dealing with.

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