Conor McGregor accused of disrespectful comments by Kamaru Usman: ‘You can’t say that’

Kamaru Usman has accused Conor McGregor of disrespecting him after the Irishman took aim at the UFC welterweight great in a recent fan Q&A.

McGregor is due to fight for the first time in three years when he faces Michael Chandler on 29 June, and the former dual-weight champion’s promotional campaign is up and running.

As part of that campaign, McGregor appeared on a Duelbits live stream, lashing out at numerous fighters. One of his targets was Usman, who held the UFC welterweight title from 2019 until 2022.

“Usman is talking crazy right now,” McGregor said. “Where’s Usman right now? What happened in his last fight again? I can’t even remember where you’re at in your game, bro, yeah? You’re nothing to me.”

Since losing the 170lbs belt to Leon Edwards in 2022, Usman has suffered back-to-back points losses – one against Edwards in March 2023, and one versus Khamzat Chimaev at middleweight in October.

The Nigerian-American, 37, is currently without a fight, and it is unclear whether he will return to welterweight – where McGregor is fighting Chandler – or stay at middleweight.

Taking issue with McGregor’s criticism of him, Usman said on the Pound 4 Pound podcast: “At what point does this become more than money? At what point does this become [about] the integrity of the sport?

“Listen, at the end of the day, Conor is who Conor is. Conor has done some pretty fantastic things in this sport of mixed martial arts, for the UFC. He has, but Conor, so have I. You were a champion, so was I. So at the end of the day, where I have a little issue is you come around saying, ‘He’s a bum,’ or he’s this. You can’t say that, Conor.

“I didn’t kick him while he was down. He’s had run-ins with the law. He’s had back-to-back incidents and situations, but you never heard me sit there and kick the man while he was down.

“There needs to be some level of respect here, because at the end of the day, that’s what this sport is all about: the respect and the discipline we all put in to get to the top of the sport. That seems to be something that he’s lacking.”

Former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (Getty Images)
Former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (Getty Images)

McGregor, a former featherweight and lightweight champion, has fought at welterweight three times; the Irishman, 35, traded wins with Nate Diaz at 170lbs in 2016 and beat Donald Cerrone in 2020.

In late 2021 and early 2022, McGregor spoke repeatedly about his desire to become the first three-weight champion in UFC history, while Usman was holding the welterweight strap.

“I’m not a bum, clearly,” Usman said, “because if you wanted an opportunity to fight me… I gave Conor two opportunities to fight me while I was champion. I told him: ‘Hey, if you want a crack at that third belt, who better?’ I was on the run that I was on. Who better for you to come up and fight?

“He talked about it. He bounced back and forth when he wanted to make his return: ‘Maybe I’ll go up and grab the third belt.’ It is what it is, Conor. If you wanted to fight, you had your opportunity, but you didn’t.

“To call me a bum is kind of disrespectful. I didn’t disrespect you when you were having your troubles. So, my man, I think it’s sometimes better if you put that whiskey bottle down and actually come back to your wits and be a good father and a good role model.”