Just last month, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White told the mixed martial arts (MMA) media that he wasn’t going to beg anyone to fight, including welterweight contender Jorge Masvidal, and that matchmakers had a “take it or leave it” approach to bookings.
Then “Gamebred” helped lead the UFC 251 pay-per-view (PPV) event to 1.3 million pay-per-view (PPV) buys last weekend on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, the second-best number since late 2018, and suddenly White is singing a much different tune.
“Masvidal is a massive star,” White told reporters after the UFC on ESPN 13 weigh ins (full results here). “Obviously, Usman, the champion and a guy that we’re all start to realize is tough to beat and a great card underneath, it was a very successful event. We’re happy. This thing killed it across the board in every way you could possibly kill it. It was awesome. The thing did really well.”
UFC 251 featured Usman’s five-round unanimous decision victory over Masvidal in the welterweight main event, which followed consecutive title fights pitting Alexander Volkanovski against Max Holloway (featherweight) and Petr Yan opposite Jose Aldo (bantamweight).
The real measure of Masvidal’s star is likely to come his next time out, though it’s hard to say what direction the promotion will go in terms of matchmaking. Former friend and training partner Colby Covington remains an option, as does welterweight tiny boi Conor McGregor.