After initially being passed by on an opportunity and going back and forth with the UFC, Jorge Masvidal may be getting exactly what he wants.
According to ESPN, Masvidal will now face Kamaru Usman in the main event of UFC 251 for the latter’s UFC Welterweight Title. On “Fight Island”, Masvidal replaces Gilbert Burns, who tested positive for COVID-19 to start July 4 weekend. “Gamebread” teased that he would be competing by undergoing a test for COVID-19, and then made his way to the UFC APEX Center in Las Vegas.
After @GamebredFighter landed in Las Vegas, he had to just "stretch the legs, you know?" 😏
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) July 5, 2020
One of the main hurdles the two will now need to overcome is the positive tests leading up to the fight. The UFC has implemented new procedures that will have fighters being tested up to five times. Once fighters are in Vegas, they will be tested, they will have to quarantine, and then if they pass will head to “Fight Island”, which will take place in Abu Dhabi on Yas Island. They will then be tested again.
If everything goes according to plan, an original matchup will then take place between two top welterweights. It was reported a while back that Usman would face off against the BMF Champion sometime in July. This came after the two were a part of a pull-apart brawl during Super Bowl LIV media week. Then, UFC President Dana White stated that the organization had other plans for both fighters. A new challenger was created for Usman when Burns beat Tyron Woodley back in May.
Masvidal (35-13) last fought at UFC 244 in November, beating Nate Diaz via TKO. He is currently on a three-fight win streak and is 6-2 in his last eight fights. A highlight of his run has been cementing the record of the fastest KO in UFC history against Ben Askren.
Recently, Masvidal has been one of several fighters to call out the UFC over pay. He wants a percentage of PPV buys, and as a performer since 2003, believes he deserves it. While stating he wanted a fair share, Masvidal still has a desire to compete. At the right place at the right time, he may end up getting what he requested, and more.
Usman (16-1) is on a fifteen-fight win streak dating back to 2013. He beat Woodley for the title at UFC 235 and defended it against Colby Covington at UFC 245 in December.
With the main event potentially still intact, the co-main event of UFC 251 is still Alexander Volkanovski v. Max Holloway in a rematch for the UFC Featherweight Title. Another title fight on the card will be Petr Yan v. Jose Aldo for the vacant UFC Bantamweight Title.