John McCarthy advises UFC champion Kamaru Usman against light heavyweight


John McCarthy doesn’t think it’s a good idea for UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman to move up to light heavyweight.

Usman (21-1 MMA, 15-0 UFC) is set to face Leon Edwards in the main event of UFC 278 on Aug. 20, and if he’s able to score his sixth title defense, the champ is looking to to move up two weight classes to further solidify his No. 1 pound-for-pound status.

Usman would skip middleweight just because his good friend and fellow Nigerian, Israel Adesanya, is the champion at 185lbs. But McCarthy, a former referee and current Bellator analyst, thinks that would be too big a leap for Usman.

“I don’t want to see him do this,” McCarthy said on his “Weighing In” podcast. “I love Kamaru Usman. I think Kamaru Usman is a phenomenal fighter. I think 170 pounds is a great weight class for him, and 205 is too big.

Usman dominated at welterweight, as he is yet to lose in 15 UFC fights. This includes his March 2019 title win over then-champ Tyron Woodley and the following five title defenses against Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal twice, as well as former teammate Gilbert Burns.

As Usman prepares for another rematch at Edwards, McCarthy says he should just continue to cement his legacy at 170 pounds.

“The guy has a great gas tank, he has a great fight, his stand up has gotten really good. … He’s a phenomenal MMA fighter, and at 170, man, he’s the king,” said McCarthy said “Stay the king. Don’t go that far. We’re talking about 35 pounds weight class. Thirty five. Crazy, don’t do it.”

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