Kamaru Usman will have his hands full with a welterweight title defense against Gilbert Burns next month at UFC 258, but “Nigerian Nightmare” still has his sights set on a rematch with Jorge Masvidal.
Usman, who will defend his 170-pound strap against Burns on Feb. 13 live on ESPN+ PPV from Las Vegas, Nevada, defeated Masvidal via decision when the two met back at UFC 251 on “Fight Island.” While the fight helped UFC 251 pull in 1.3 million PPV buys it wasn’t the greatest performance by either fighter, especially the champ.
Usman has had plenty of time to reflect on his fight with Masvidal and believes things could go a lot different if the two welterweights met in the cage again.
“I was unhappy because as much as I put into preparing for fights, I basically was just on autopilot that fight,” Usman told ESPN. “A lot of things played a factor in that fight. I’m way better than that. I have way more tools and skills to display than what I showed, because out there, I beat him with stuff I’ve been doing for five years.
“It’s me versus me out there,” Usman continued. “So, there’s a potential of that fight happening again if he works himself there, but I want to do it again because I want to put an exclamation on it. I want to finish him. I want to impress myself.”
Even though Usman wasn’t able to completely shut down Masvidal or find a finish over the course of five rounds the UFC champion still defeated one of the hottest fighters in the sport. “Gamebred” did accept the title fight on short notice but he was coming off three massive knockout wins from the year before.
Usman isn’t the type of fighter to make excuses for a performance, especially when it’s a win, but the champion believes a broken nose prevented him from letting it all hang out against Masvidal.
“Two weeks before, shattered. A lot of people haven’t dealt with a broken nose. When anything comes close to your face, you’re trying to defend and not get that nose hit,” Usman said. “There are a couple of guys here who hit pretty hard. We can blame that one on Carrington Banks and Justin Gaethje.”
Broken nose or not, Usman pushed his undefeated UFC record to 12-0 with his win over Masvidal. It was also his second-straight UFC welterweight title defense after taking the belt from Tyron Woodley back in 2019. Only time will tell if Usman can knock off Burns at UFC 258 and push for his rematch with “Gamebred” later this year.
What do you think, Maniacs? Should UFC target a Usman vs. Masvidal rematch if “Nigerian Nightmare” gets past Burns?
Let’s hear it!