Kamaru Usman explains injury problem and talks return schedule

Kamaru Usman’s health is moving in the right direction. It just takes a little time.

Usman (20-1 MMA, 15-0 UFC), the reigning UFC welterweight champion, is still recovering from a hand injury that has kept him out of action since a unanimous decision against his rival Colby Covington at UFC 268 in November. He sees his doctor frequently, he said, but according to his last appointment last week, he still needs more time.

“What I was hoping for was that the doctor would say, ‘Hey, okay, let’s go full blast.’ But he told me it was a tendon problem,” Usman said, in a recent interview with The Subway. “The problem with tendons is that there’s no blood flow there, especially when they’re in your hands. So it takes a lot longer and not just that way. It’s also right above my knuckle. It’s right on that money maker right there. That’s the one I’m going to get in touch with real, real quick.

Usman, 35, refuses to let his eagerness get the better of him. Of course, fans want to see it again. Usman also wants to be back. But if he rushes things, it could lead to significant long-term damage to his hand. It’s a risk he’s not ready to take.

“If I don’t give him the time to heal properly, I’ll just open his back and be out for a whole year, potentially worse,” Usman said. “(I could) cause irreparable damage where I could no longer fight. It’s not a chance I’m willing to take now. I love my career.”

While UFC plans appear to have Usman vs. Leon Edwards (19-3 MMA, 11-2 UFC) on the record, the champion is unsure if an August rumor will happen.

“We’ll see,” Usman said. “The thing with me is I always wanted to be that guy where I was always weeks away from a fight. I’m always weeks away from a fight if I really want to. is right now that I’m in a position where I want to make sure I’m delivering the best product I can come up with every time I step in. To do that, I need enough time to prepare for a guy and go out and deliver performances. I listen to the doctors and make sure I’m healthy. Once I’m healthy, I’ll be the first to go back.”

UFC triggers on working title implementations have gotten faster over time. These days, a champion’s request for an extra month can mean that an interim title will be added. Regardless of what happens, Usman said it won’t change the reality of who the undisputed champion is. He will be indifferent.

“I don’t really care about any of these guys, because I proved who I am,” Usman said. “It’s not like, ‘You just got the title and now you’re out for a year or two years.’ No, I think what is a year? A year that you’re gone, then it’s a working title. I just took a year to cement where I am instead. Let’s be honest. A working title means I really don’t think so Everyone knows who the champion is Everyone knows who the best pound for pound fighter on the planet I can only think of my health and when I can go back and do what I love to do.

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