Kamaru Usman’s manager says August return ‘completely not true’

UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is just now starting to use his surgically-repaired hand in training, and his manager wants people to pump the brakes on the rumors of his return in August.

A few months after his title defense against Colby Covington at UFC 268, Usman (20-1 MMA, 15-0 MMA) underwent surgery in February to repair damage to his broken right hand. According to his manager Ali Abdelaziz,  his client deserves some time off without the pressure of worrying about when to return to action.

“I think Kamaru’s been giving fight, after fight, after fight in two months, three months turnaround and I think that man deserves a break,” Abdelaziz told MMA Junkie. “I think this injury is a blessing in disguise. He needs to kind of heal his body and need to focus on himself and his family. But I’ll tell you something, this guy train every day. It doesn’t matter – one hand, one leg, one eye.”

As one of the most active current champions under the UFC banner, “The Nigerian Nightmare” has racked up five title defenses since winning the belt by defeating Tyron Woodley at UFC 235. In 2021, he defended three times, winning fights in against Gilbert Burns in February, Jorge Masvidal in April, and Covington in November. As for his return to action, Abdelaziz doesn’t care who the next opponent will be, and wants everyone to be patient just like the UFC brass has been.

“Honestly, it doesn’t matter who’s gonna be next,” Abdelaziz said. “I know somebody said he’s fighting Aug. 20th and that was completely not true, because he’s still trying out his hand. … Kamaru loves to fight. When Kamaru ready to fight, and I’ll be honest, credit to the UFC, they’re not pressuring us, they’re not pushing us. Dana, Sean, Hunter, all those guys, they’re being very cool about it because they understand who Kamaru is, what kind of man he is, right?”

Potential challengers such as Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev are waiting for their opportunity to face Usman for the title. While Edwards appears to be the front runner between the two options, regardless of the opponent, Abdelaziz assures Usman will be back inside the cage this year.

“He’ll fight 2022, 100 percent,” Abdelaziz said. “Maybe in August, maybe September, maybe Madison Square Garden, we have not know yet. UFC has given us the laid-back saying, ‘Hey, when you’re ready, let us know.’ And we’re gonna let them know. And I appreciate that because promoter always pressuring you to fight. I think they respect him so much and they’re not pressuring him and everything is good.”