- Sean Strickland revealed Kamaru Usman will make seven figures for UFC 294
- Usman stepped in on short notice to face Khamzat Chimaev in co-main event
- Strickland lamented the fight taking place on such short notice for Usman
Sean Strickland has revealed that Kamaru Usman will be taking home a seven-figure purse for stepping in on short-notice to face Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 294.
Chimaev had originally been scheduled to face Paulo Costa in Saturday’s co-main event, but an injury to the Brazilian less than two weeks before fight night prompted a reshuffle.
Strickland was the first fighter the UFC turned to as a potential replacement, but the middleweight champion opted not to make the first defence of his belt on such short notice.
Jared Cannonier was also considered, but he suffered an injury prior to being announced as the replacement, with Usman ultimately saving the fight by moving up a weight class to take on the undefeated Chechen.
Despite his unquestionable pedigree, the odds are firmly stacked against Usman when he steps into the Octagon on Saturday night as he searches for a first win since November 2021.
Sean Strickland revealed Kamaru Usman will be making a huge payday for his UFC 294 fight
Usman stepped in on less than two weeks’ notice to face undefeated Chechen Khamzat Chimaev
Speaking on his UFC 294 breakdown with fellow UFC star Chris Curtis, Strickland stated his view that Usman has taken the fight solely for financial reasons and added he stands little chance against Chimaev.
‘Here’s the thing, Usman’s not done a camp, Usman hasn’t been bulking up to middleweight. Usman took this fight for a pay cheque.’ Strickland said.
‘They said “hey Usman, here’s probably a couple million, do you want to take this fight? We’ll give it to you” and Usman said “I can’t say no, I’ll do it” it’s a win-win for Usman.
‘So I think it doesn’t really count because you have Chimaev who has been training his a** off, who has been bulking up for middleweight, and then you have Usman who has been like “I’m gonna take this and get a pay cheque”‘.
‘To me this is kind of a bulls*** fight they just needed to fill a seat, and I’ve got Chimaev [to win].’
Reports claimed earlier this week that one of the conditions of Usman stepping in to face Chimaev was that the winner would be granted a shot at Strickland’s UFC title.
Many assumed that Israel Adesanya would invoke an immediate rematch with Strickland after suffering a shock defeat to the American at UFC 293 last month.
However, the long-time former middleweight king has instead announced that he intends on taking a break from competition for the time being, opening up the division to new challengers.
Strickland had been offered the fight but turned it down having only recently won the middleweight title
Usman’s last UFC win was a welterweight title defence against Colby Covington in 2021
Though dismissing Usman’s chances of emerging victorious on Saturday night, Strickland added that given a full training camp to prepare, and time to bulk up to the 185lb weight class Usman has all the skills required to be able to defeat Chimaev.
‘Usman’s a veteran, and with that comes patience, skill,’ he added.
‘170lbs, full camp? I’ve got Usman all day. Three rounds, coming off the f***ing couch, I’ve got Chimaev.’
Strickland has own his history with the former welterweight champion.
In 2017 when they were both burgeoning contenders at 170lbs, Usman defeated Strickland via unanimous decision at UFC 210 before notching four more consecutive wins to earn a title shot against then-champion Tyron Woodley.