After winning a dangerous back and forth bout against former teammate Gilbert Burns at UFC 258, welterweight champion Kamaru Usman called out Jorge Masvidal for a rematch.
That’s a bit of a head scratcher considering Masvidal hasn’t fought since dropping a near-shutout of a decision to Usman at UFC 251 back in May of 2020. Typically fighters need to toil away rebuilding a streak in a division as deep as 170 to get another shot at the champion. But not only does the champ want it, UFC president Dana White seems down with it as well.
“Listen, there’s a lot of options for [Usman] right now,” White said during the UFC 258 post-fight press conference. “If that’s the fight he wants and that’s the fight Masvidal wants, then I’m sure the people would like to see it too.”
After being wobbled in the first round by a four to one dog during a pay-per-view that’s unlikely to break 500k buys, we bet that’s the fight Usman wants. Jorge Masvidal is undeniably the biggest name at welterweight and arguably the biggest name in the sport after Conor McGregor. And Usman legit sounds like he wants to change the narrative he unintentionally set playing it safe in their first encounter.
“That fight, he had a built in excuse, that’s the only reason he took that fight,” Usman said when he was up at the podium. “We tried to make that fight twice before. He said no. When Khabib and I think it was Ferguson fell out, we tried. I called Dana and I said ‘Hey, it’s two weeks’ notice, I really haven’t been training but I’ll step in if you need me to’ and they tried to make that fight but Masvidal said no. He did an interview to where he said ‘oh the numbers weren’t right and this and that.’ He’s been saying no.”
“The only reason he took that fight on Fight Island is because it was a built in excuse. He was training the whole time but he’s saying ‘I only had six days’ notice, that’s why that went that way.’”
Usman pointed out that Masvidal gets all these props because he stepped up to fight at UFC 251 on six days, when he also had six days to prepare and almost blew his weight cut after his original opponent pulled out.
“I ate like a pig the night before because I said I had no fight,” Kamaru said. “I’m 195 pounds when I step on the scale. Called my coach down there, Tony Cabello, I said ‘Hey Tony, we need to work out.’ Worked out like crazy that night, got off about five or six pounds, then I got on the scale, I said we’re within striking distance. Next day, flew back to Vegas then flew to Abu Dhabi. I had maybe approximately four days, I didn’t sleep at all to prepare for that fight and he had a built in excuse.”
“This time I want to stop him for real because I think that’s the only thing that’s going to close his mouth. Pretending walking around here like he’s Jesus or something. Well, I’m going to put him in a coffin this time. This time I will stop him. I promise you. That’s why I was disappointed in myself that last fight because I know I can stop him but with all the circumstances took place, I just went out there and dominated him from start to finish. This time I will stop him if he wants to step up.”
We’re pretty sure Jorge Masvidal will be thrilled to get a title shot after a year of inactivity just because he lives rent free in Usman’s head. But Usman thinks there’s still a good chance the fight won’t come together.
“He don’t want that fight. I guarantee you he doesn’t want that fight,” Usman said. “I wouldn’t say if I didn’t want it. Have I lied to you guys yet? About anything? Nothing. I said what I wanted to do and that’s what I’m going to do. Let’s see if it materializes.”
The only thing we see that could derail the fight would be money concerns, which could certainly be a thing as Jorge demands the dollars that come with million plus pay-per-view sales and the UFC tries to keep the circle of fighters making Conor McGregor money as small as possible. So keep an eye open for a potential Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington fight ... if the UFC can put it together without offering the winner a guaranteed title shot. So many moving parts.