“I hate being put in this position because this was supposed to be the fight. He’s a great, very, very good prospect, a good contender, and he was in my weight class. That fight is naturally what was supposed to happen,” Usman told TMZ Sports.
A bout between Usman and Chimaev never came to fruition in the welterweight division because Chimaev could no longer make the cut down to 170 pounds and the fight promotion had other plans. Saturday’s match will take place in Chimaev’s new weight class, the middleweight division.
“It was mixed emotions because I get the call and I was – where was I when I got the call – I think I just left training. I left training. This is the thing with me, this is my job. This is what I do. I’m a professional, so it’s not like, oh, I don’t have a fight I don’t do anything,” Usman said.
“I get the call from Ali [Abdelaziz] (his manager) and immediately I am excited. That’s where you are. You’re excited about what potentially could (happen) like I’m excited right now about possibly winning the jackpot of a billion dollars in the lottery. So I’m excited and I’m like okay. First and foremost I always have to, I call my coaches and I throw the idea at them and no one talked me out of it.”
After talking to his coaches, Usman decided to get a good night’s sleep before making his decision.
“I said, let me sleep on it because I don’t want to be hasty and and do something unintelligent. Let me sleep on it. I woke up the next day with hey, let’s get ready. I texted Ali and said, ‘let’s do this.'”
Kamaru Usman Opens Up On Decision to Fight Khamzat Chimaev