Jorge Masvidal heading into Kamaru Usman rematch a changed man
Jorge Masvidal was offered a fight with Kamaru Usman last summer but was not happy with what the UFC was offering him for the fight. After some back and forth, Masvidal turned it down about six weeks after the date of the fight and the UFC moved on.
Gilbert Burns signed UFC 251 against Usman in Abu Dhabi on July 12th.
Masvidal ended that date, however, and it turned out to be the most successful pay-per-view of the year for the UFC. Usman won a unanimous decision over his fierce rival in a fight that sold 1.3 million pay-per-view sales.
On Saturday, Masvidal will score a second goal at Usman and his welterweight title when they compete again at the main UFC 261 event in Jacksonville, Florida.
And it's an entirely different Masvidal, both personally and competitively, that's going to step into the cage.
Before UFC 251, Masvidal still had to make a living. Oh, he was fine at this point in his MMA career, but he went into a different financial position after the success of pay-per-view and the notoriety it gained from it.
He's now making money on endorsements on top of his battle pay, which has affected the generations.
"I'm telling you this: if I never have to fight again, my children's children are in good hands," said Masvidal. “I wish it was like that across the board. I hate hearing someone fight for 15, 16 years and all they have to show is broken teeth and cauliflower ears and that's it. You have to get a 9 out of 5 job while the XYZ company made millions and billions of dollars and will only continue to make billions and billions. "
However, Masvidal brought his exciting fighting style, flair, and quick wit to success. After many years, he created a person who fascinated the public, and he took advantage of it when the opportunity arose.
His run really started on July 6, 2019 at UFC 239 when he set a record with a five-second knockout of Ben Askren. His flying knee and press conference performance, in which he said the punches he delivered to a recumbent askren were "extremely necessary," made him a star almost overnight.
(R-L) Jorge Masvidal beats Kamaru Usman during UFC 251 at Flash Forum on July 12, 2020 at Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari / Zuffa LLC)
He turned that win into a battle for a gimmick title coined by Nate Diaz and dubbed the BMF Belt by the UFC. Then-President Trump was in the ring and superstar actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson presented him with the belt after defeating Diaz.
His performance leading up to the Usman fight, in which he accepted the fight with six days notice when Burns was forced to retire, cemented his status as an OG in the fighting game.
It always surprises him how far he has come.
"It wasn't long ago that I couldn't get a sponsor to give me $ 1,000 to help with my training camp," he said. “But I never gave up or lost confidence in myself. I've lost confidence in the system and certain things, but I've never lost confidence in myself. I always knew that I would get where I had to be, one way or another. "
He's listened to Usman manager Ali Abdelaziz, who boasts that Usman surpassed Georges St-Pierre as the greatest welterweight in MMA history.
But Masvidal isn't buying the idea that Usman is great, even though Usman clearly won their first fight. Usman insists that Masvidal trained, but Masvidal denies it. He said he went to the gym to help friends and lifted weights, but he didn't work out like he was preparing for a world title fight.
He had to lose 20 pounds when he arrived in Abu Dhabi and it's a point of pride for him that he did it in really five days when he landed. He asked if Usman, who is a -425 favorite at BetMGM in his rematch, could do the same.
"If Kamaru fights me with a £ 20 fight six days in advance, I'll finish him in the first or second round," said Masvidal. “This is a great fighter. He wouldn't make a decision with me and he knows that. That's why he hugged me for my dear life. Was I a great fighter that night? No, I wasn't a great fighter that night.
“Will I be a great fighter on April 24th and show the big difference between me and… Kamaru Usman? Yes. I will show the world the difference between good and great. "
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American martial artist
Nigerian-American mixed martial artist
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