Masvidal (35-14 MMA, 12-7 UFC) wants an immediately second opportunity to challenge for the welterweight title after his unanimous decision defeat to Usman (17-1 MMA, 12-0 UFC) in Saturday’s headliner at Flash Forum in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.
The fight came together on just six days’ notice when Masvidal replaced Gilbert Burns to get his first UFC title shot. He couldn’t overcome Usman under the circumstances, and he said the result is burning away at him.
Reported pay-per-view buy rate of roughly 1.3 million prove Masvidal is a superstar, but he said he’s not coming out of UFC 251 looking for money fights. If he could make a choice of next opponent, he said only one option exists.
“It’s a no-brainer,” Masvidal told ESPN. “Could they offer me bigger names that pay me more money? Yes. For a fact. But if it’s up to me, Usman. For me stepping up on six days’ notice when no one else would. Because no one else would. A lot of people are saying that they would, but who else did it? Ask Dana (White). Who else was actually like, ‘Hey, Masvidal didn’t do it, I’ll do it. I’m right here.’ So, if it’s up to me Usman right away. I don’t care if they can offer me a bigger fight or not, I would like to fight Usman.”
Masvidal said that even if the reported pay-per-view number for UFC 251 wasn’t totally accurate, anything even close to the ballpark will blow the doors off as the biggest payday of his career. There was a contract struggle with the UFC brass that delayed the Usman fight from being made originally, but when Burns tested positive for COVID-19, Masvidal was handed the leverage to get his demands met.
With his bank account padded to a point he’s comfortable with, Masvidal said he doesn’t need to chase the big-money fights. The title is much more important to him at this juncture, and intends to make his case in an upcoming meeting with UFC president White.
“You could tell me (I’m fighting Conor) McGregor right now and will pay me X, Y, Z dollars: ‘The biggest pay-per-view event in history,’” Masvidal said. “I feel I get compensated well enough now that I keep making the right decisions I’ve been doing, then this money is forever money. So it’s not about money. It’s about I want that damn belt and I’m stubborn and I know I’m better than Usman and I want to prove it. I want to fight again. I’m not going to take nothing from him. He won the first one. Let’s do it again and that’s it. Then after that then whatever comes next after that. But Usman’s the thing I want the most. The immediate rematch with Usman.”
Masvidal said he knows where he went wrong in the fight with Usman and where he could be better under more ideal circumstances. He said immediately after UFC 251 that he wasn’t going to make excuses for the loss and stuck true to that in his first interview upon returning home from the fight.
With the outcome eating away at him, Masvidal said he’s already back to working out in the form of bike rides an weight lifting. He said his immediate goal is to improve his conditioning because he knows it will be a key aspect if he’s given the chance to rematch Usman.
“It’s just begun, as far as competitiveness goes,” Masvidal said. “Obviously I wasn’t at my best. When I got the call on six days I was on more in the gym on a general condition. I was running, I was lifting weights. I wasn’t on the mats three, four times a week but my general priority was to get in better shape. More long distance running and things like that. When I got the call we started training specifically for the fight and I did the best I can. But I don’t want to make no excuses, I don’t want to take nothing away from Usman because even me on six days’ notice, fighting the world champion, I am a dangerous animal.
“I am a effing tiger at all times and I think you say that. It was a battle for real estate and he won on the real estate more often than not. He was able to take me to his side of the world and keep me there. I don’t want to take nothing from him. We’ll leave it up to the rematch. I’ll let my actions speak louder than my words.”
Original article: https://mmajunkie.usatoday.com/2020/07/jorge-masvidal-immediate-rematch-kamaru-usman-ufc-251/