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‘Selfish’ manager pushing for Israel Adesanya vs. Kamaru Usman - I don’t think they’re best friends

Manager Ali Abdelaziz says Israel Adesanya and Kamaru Usman will fight each other if the money is right.

As the UFC’s two Nigerian champions, a strong bond was established between Israel Adesanya and Kamaru Usman. But also as the UFC’s two Nigerian champions, there’s been that narrative of having them fight each other sometime down the line.

Retired former double-champ Henry Cejudo already began to toy with the idea, saying both men should forget their “African pride” and just fight for “legacy.”

Manager Ali Abdelaziz, who works with both Usman and Cejudo, took things a step further in a recent interview with TMZ Sports.

“I want him to beat Leon Edwards, and I want (him) to go fight Israel Adesanya (for) the middleweight title,” Abdelaziz said of Usman.

“At the end of the day, I don’t think these guys… they’re cool, but I don’t think they’re, like, best friends. If (there’s) enough money for both of them to fight, they will fight in the parking lot. I know how people work.

“This (has) nothing to do with loyalty. Because these guys, it’s not like they’re training partners, like brothers. They’re African brothers, and it holds a lot of value, being African, because I’m African, too.”

“I like Israel, I love watching him. I’m a huge fan, he’s a nice guy. But at the end of the day, I’m (team) Kamaru Usman all the way. I wanna see Kamaru Usman before the end of the road have two titles.

I’m selfish, I’m greedy. Like Henry Cejudo said, I’m a gold-digger. And I think Kamaru deserves it.”

Abdelaziz further argued his point.

“I know Dana (wants) it, I want it. It makes sense. It makes a lot of sense,” he said. “Israel Adesanya (went) up to fight for the light heavyweight (title). Israel did not accomplish what Kamaru (has) accomplished. There’s no way. Not taking anything away from Israel, but I think (if) there’s enough money for these two guys, they would fight. I wanna see this fight now.

“Mike Tyson told me this: if they’re real brothers, they should fight. For them to make money.”

In early 2020, Usman already shut down the possibility of fighting Adesanya. As he told Joe Rogan during an episode of the JRE MMA Show, “having two belts in Nigeria is better than having one guy holding two belts.”