Masvidal vs. Usman: A Worthy Defeat
Jorge Masvidal was beat out by a well-prepared and calculated Kamaru Usman during their main event championship fight at UFC 251.
Masvidal replaced Gilbert Burns in the bout, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 just days before the UFC was set to travel to Abu Dhabi for Fight Island.
The six days of limited preparation weighed heavy on the 36-year-old brawler, who looked much less spry and quick on his feet than usual.
While Masvidal may not have been able to keep up with The Nigerian Nightmare over much of the grueling 5 rounds, he still displayed excellent defensive skills and technique.
While Masvidal may have ended the contest in defeat, he still deserves incredible respect for taking initiative. Gamebred is one of few fighters in the company who would have taken a fight on such short notice, especially against a fighter as intimidating as Usman.
With the win, Usman added one more notch in his already incredibly impressive belt. The 33-year-old has not lost since 2013 and moved to 17-1 over the course of his career.
While the results of the bout may be final, one has to wonder whether the outcome could have been different with a more even playing field and set training regimen.
As soon as the bout was over, Masvidal was already talking about a rematch with Usman.
"I want that damn belt, and I'm stubborn," Masvidal said in an interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani. "I know I'm better than Usman, and I want to prove it. I want to fight again.”
While he may want another shot at the title as soon as possible, it is being reported that UFC President Dana White has other ideas for his star fighter. White hopes to see a Masvidal and McGregor super fight in the works soon, but that is something that Masvidal is not too fond of.
"You can tell me that McGregor right now would make X, Y, Z dollars, the biggest pay-per-view you get in history, right, and I'm going to get paid forever," Masvidal said. "I feel I'm getting compensated well enough now that if I keep making the right decisions I've been doing, this money is forever money. So it's not about money."
Masvidal may have to wait for his time to come again, as there are a few other worthy competitors who are waiting in the wings to get their shot at the gold.
Gilbert Burns wants the title shot that he was going to get before being replaced by Masvidal. Welterweight fighter Leon Edwards, who has won 8 in a row, also feels he is deserving of a match with Usman.
Hopefully Masvidal will continue to work on his physique and technique while he waits for his turn, so that next time he’s called up, he’ll be ready to give it his all.