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‘I could walk away’ - Kamaru Usman hints at retirement after UFC 261

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Could Kamaru Usman be taking a page out of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s book? The reigning welterweight champ hints that he could retire after UFC 261.

Reigning UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman might be in his athletic prime, but ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ doesn’t plan to stick around for long.

Usman revealed in a recent interview with MMA Fighting that he could walk away from the sport after defending his title against Masvidal, claiming that he would have effectively cleared out the division.

“Being a realist, and I’m honest with myself, and I know that I can’t do this forever, and I don’t want to do this forever,” Usman said, per Clyde Aidoo of MMA News. “Like I said, we’re on a track right now, and I’m just so far ahead of these guys that I’m coming back around and I’m lapping them now.”

“Talking to some of my mentors and some of the greats that have done this, what they’re telling me is that, at some point, it’s gonna start to…that waking up in the morning and heading to the gym to put in daily work is gonna start to get heavier and heavier when nothing really motivates me like that anymore. So this one, like I said, I’m motivated because I didn’t feel like I got that fix. I still have that feeling in me. And so I want to go out there and get this one.”

“But after this one, we have to take a really hard look and see what there is out there for me because it’s not these guys. So whether it’s crossing over and doing something else or maybe walking away, you never know.”

Usman is undefeated in the UFC at 13-0 and has beaten the likes of Gilbert Burns, Jorge Masvidal, Colby Covington, Tyron Woodley and Rafael dos Anjos, cementing himself as one of the greatest welterweight champions in UFC history. The 33-year-old also holds the record for the longest winning streak at 170 lbs., surpassing Georges St-Pierre in non-title fights.

UFC 261: Usman vs. Masvidal 2 takes place this Saturday, April 24 at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.