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Jorge Masvidal sends message to young fighters ahead of UFC 251: ‘Know your value and stick to your guns’

It may haven taken a Gilbert Burns positive COVID-19 test to get to this point, but Jorge Masvidal will finally get his first-ever UFC title shot. After filling in for Burns on just six days notice “Gamebred” will challenge Kamaru Usman for the UFC welterweight title in the main event later tonight (Sat., July 11, 2020) at UFC 251 live on ESPN+ PPV from Yas Island in Abu Dhabi,

Fight fans may be getting the matchup they wanted to ring in the much-anticipated “Fight Island,” but it wasn’t easy for Masvidal to earn this shot at UFC gold. The streaking welterweight was originally expected to fight Usman this weekend after turning in one of the best 2019 campaigns of any fighter, but contract negotiations for the 170-pound title fight eventually turned sour between Masvidal and UFC. “Gamebred” went as far as asking for his release from the promotion if they didn’t pay him what he was worth.

The stalemate lasted weeks as Masvidal took to social media and ESPN to question UFC’s profit sharing and overall lack of fighter pay. His approach was aggressive and something to admire, but it left Masvidal’s immediate Octagon future in doubt. That was, of course, until Burns popped for coronavirus and UFC needed a short notice replacement to headline the biggest card of the year.

With his UFC title shot closer than ever Masvidal offered some advice to young fighters on how they should conduct business to capitalize on their worth.

“Stick to your guns,” Masvidal told reporters after Friday’s weigh ins. “Don’t let none of these devils and demons hold you down. I’ve been here for a while. It’s taken me a while. I don’t let no oppression get the better of me. If they didn’t come to the numbers I wanted, I would’ve been right in Miami, Florida sitting on my couch, eating sushi, playing video games. They came correct. That’s why I’m here.”

Masvidal, 35, has resurrected his career over the past year and change. After snapping a two-fight losing streak by knocking out Darren Till in March of 2019 “Gamebred” turned around to finish then undefeated welterweight contender Ben Askren with a five-second flying knee last July, earning himself one of the best knockout finishes of all time. Following that, Masvidal went toe-to-toe with Nate Diaz for the “Baddest Motherf—ker” belt at UFC 244 which boosted “Gamebred’s” growing superstar status even more when he won via third-round TKO.

It has taken Masvidal 16 years and 48 professional fights to get here, but the veteran fighter is finally in the driver’s seat taking advantage of his elite skill set.

“That’s the only thing I can tell young fighters coming up,” Masvidal said. “Know your value. A lot of the young guys just don’t know their value. Because a lot of the young guys don’t know their value, and it’s not their fault. I didn’t know my value. When I was 19, 20 years old, if somebody offered me $2,000, I’d kill a gorilla. It’s tough as these kids are coming up. All I can tell them is know your value and stick to your guns.”

Masvidal did stick to his guns and now he’s headlining the biggest card in recent memory. Only time will tell if “Gamebred” can cash in on that opportunity, become the UFC’s undisputed welterweight champion, and keep this incredible ride going.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 251 fight card this weekend RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+“Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the ESPN portion at 8 p.m. before the PPV main card start time on ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 251: “Usman vs. Masvidal” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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