KAMARU USMAN has revealed he broke his hand in the lead up to his rematch with Colby Covington at UFC 268.
The Nigerian superstar said he suffered the injury by punching lightweight Justin Gaethje's head during a sparring session.
Usman defended his UFC Welterweight Championship for a fifth time earlier this month with a unanimous decision victory over the trash-talking American.
And the legendary 34-year-old fighter has now confirmed he had a major physical obstacle to overcome just three weeks out from the showdown when he broke his right hand.
Speaking recently on the Full Send Podcast, he said: “I broke it [his right hand] before the fight.
“Most people didn’t know that. I broke it three weeks before, and I didn’t throw it until the day of the fight itself.
"I didn’t throw it until backstage when you’re warming up before the fight. I didn’t throw my hands for three weeks, my right hand."
He then went on to add: “I broke it on someone’s head, Justin Gaethje’s head.”
Usman is known for ignoring injuries in the lead up to fights. Prior to the first Jorge Masvidal clash last year he is said to have suffered a broken nose.
He still went on to win the bout in convincing fashion.
Usman is on an incredible run of 19 straight MMA victories, a run which stretches back to his second pro fight in 2013 when he suffered his only loss at the hands of Jose Caceres.
His dominance in the UFC has led him to look across to the world of boxing for potential challenges.
And earlier this month the welterweight champ called out pound-for-pound boxing star Canelo Alvarez for a crossover clash.
He told TMZ Sports: "I've already said the name that interests me – Canelo. That's what interests me.
"If I don't believe in myself, then why would I do it? Of course I believe in myself.
"He's amazing. I'm not taking nothing away from him. But, how often does someone get to test themselves against the best?"
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Despite Usman's desire to fight Alvarez, UFC boss Dana White has dismissed the idea of the two meeting in the future.
In the wake of Usman's win over Covington and Canelo's victory over Caleb Plant, White was asked about a potential clash, to which he replied: "He doesn't want to fight Canelo, he doesn't want to fight Canelo.
"C'mon man let's stop this s***." [Kamaru] doesn't want to fight Canelo – because Alvarez is so damn dangerous in the ring."
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