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John McCarthy says ‘205 is too big’ for Kamaru Usman, should ‘stay the king’ at welterweight

John McCarthy urges Kamaru Usman to stay in his lane.

UFC 278 Press Conference
UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is considering a move to the light heavyweight division.
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

If Kamaru Usman is serious about moving to light heavyweight, John McCarthy thinks ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ would be making a huge mistake.

McCarthy, a former referee turned MMA analyst, thinks Usman is too small for that weight class and should continue fighting at welterweight despite virtually clearing out the division ahead of his Aug. 20 rematch with Leon Edwards.

“I don’t wanna see him do it,” McCarthy said on his Weighing In podcast (h/t MMA Junkie). “I like Kamaru Usman. I think Kamaru Usman’s a phenomenal fighter. I think 170 pounds is a great weight class for him, and 205 is too big.”

Usman would be jumping up two weight classes in a bid to become the first UFC fighter to win gold at welterweight and light heavyweight. He refuses to fight at 185 pounds due to his budding friendship with Israel Adesanya, who is the undisputed champ at middleweight and one of two Nigerian-born champions in the UFC (the other being Usman).

McCarthy admires Usman’s confidence but urges the 35-year-old to continue dominating at welterweight rather than risk damaging his reputation at light heavyweight.

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

UFC 278: Usman vs. Edwards 2 takes place next month, Aug. 20, at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.