Jorge Masvidal, like so many fighters before him, is seeing ghosts.
Despite this pre-fight promise, “Gamebred” was knocked out by welterweight champion Kamaru Usman during their UFC 261 rematch back in April 2021, which followed a unanimous decision loss to “The Nigerian Nightmare” at UFC 251 the previous summer.
Could a victory over a Top 5 opponent earn Masvidal another title shot?
“Masvidal was doing good in that first round and then he gets caught and he gets KOed which by the way was a vicious knockout,” Kawa told MMA Underground. “I’m not taking nothing away from [Usman]. So that haunts [Masvidal] a little bit. He wants to fight somebody who can get his name back in there in that Top 5, beat somebody, and then he wants to fight Usman one last time and then that might be it.”
Fellow 170-pound contender Gilbert Burns is ready to answer the call.
Whether or not Usman is still champion by the time Masvidal is ready remains to be seen. “The Nigerian Nightmare” will defend his division title against longtime nemesis Leon Edwards atop the UFC 278 pay-per-view (PPV) card next month in Salt Lake City.
Making a “Rocky” title fight possible for Masvidal.
“If Leon beats Kamaru, you have the ‘three piece and a soda’ ... it has to happen,” Kawa continued. “There would be no better way for him to go fight Leon, then fight Kamaru after that. If you ever wanted to write a story ... but you gotta rely on Leon beating Kamaru. That’s a tall order for anybody. For the sport, for Masvidal, for Leon even, if Leon wins the belt and he gets to fight Masvidal for that belt in London, that’s gonna be the biggest payday of Leon’s career and deservedly so.”
Assuming Masvidal doesn’t end up in the slammer.
Masvidal and Edwards have history after running into each other backstage at UFC London in early 2019, where a worked-up “Gamebred” let his hands go and delivered a “three piece and a soda” to the English bruiser, though UFC never capitalized on the exchange.
The next few months are going to be very interesting for the 170-pound division.