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Kamaru Usman responds to Shavkat Rakhmonov: ‘Khamzat was arguably scarier than him’

Kamaru Usman takes umbrage with Shavkat Rakhmonov claiming that he doesn’t want to fight him.

Rakhmonov (18-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) was linked to a fight with Jack Della Maddalena, but Maddalena is currently recovering from arm surgery. “Nomad” turned his attention to a title shot, after accusing Usman and Colby Covington of avoiding him.

“JDM is hurt, Usman and Colby don’t want it. I’m ready to face the winner of Leon vs Belal.”

Usman (20-4 MMA, 15-3 UFC) addressed Rakhmonov, pointing to his short-notice matchup against Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 294 as proof that he’s willing to fight anyone. The former welterweight champion lost a majority decision to Chimaev.

Usman also discussed training with Rakhmonov at Kill Cliff FC.

“At the end of the day, people act like, ‘Oh, you scared to fight this guy?’ You don’t become champion to defend over and over and over because you’re scared to fight somebody,” Usman said on his “Pound 4 Pound” podcast with Henry Cejudo. “Like, shut up. Y’all get me going again. … This is one of those things because he does come down here in South Florida to train at a gym that I’ve been training at before he was even – see, now the competitor of me is going to come out and I’m going to start talking sh*t. Listen, I’m not even in that place, but all I can say is before he was dreaming of fighting in the UFC, I’ve been in this gym training and doing whatever and helping my guys get to the top while I got to the top.

“I know he comes down to South Florida and he trains, but it is what it is. I understand he’s a young and hungry contender or what not. But listen, there’s this thing called respect, and you show the respect in order for you to get the respect. I’m the type of guy who I’ve been to the mountaintop, and then I’ve come down. You saw in that clip, I was helping you out. I was giving you a look. It’s not one of those things to where you could sit here and say, ‘Oh, I’m scared of you, I don’t want it.’ Listen, I took Khamzat on nine days’ notice. Khamzat was arguably scarier than him, and he’s been hurt. Khamzat hadn’t at that point fought a fight that lasted really till you know – most of his fights ended in the first round.”

Usman reacted to a clip which was released from the “Fight Inc: Inside the UFC” documentary, showing Dana White trying to make Usman vs. Rakhmonov at UFC 294. His manager, Ali Abdelaziz, is shown pitching Usman vs. Stephen Thompson instead, but Usman wound up stepping in to face Chimaev on less than 10 days’ notice.

“First and foremost, I’m not even in the game right now, so that’s the least of – I’m not even worried about any of that,” Usman said. “This was done a year ago, and after that, guess what? I stepped in there on nine days’ notice and fought possibly the most dangerous guy in the UFC at that time, Khamzat Chimaev.

“When I do get back into the octagon, I don’t give a flying frick who it is. If it’s Cousin John, if it’s this guy, if it’s that guy, if it’s Shavkat, if it’s JDM, if it’s this guy, if it’s Leon Edwards, or if it’s Belal (Muhammad), I don’t care who it is. When I’m ready to step back into the octagon and I want to fight somebody, I don’t give a sh*t. I’ll fight who I need to fight.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie