UFC welterweight Kamaru Usman revealed that it was his idea to have the rematch with rival Jorge Masvidal take place at UFC 261.
Usman and Masvidal met back at UFC 251 on Fight Island last July. Masvidal filled in on one weeks’ notice for Gilbert Burns, who withdrew from the fight due to COVID-19. Though “Gamebred” was able to go the full five rounds with Masvidal, he lost a unanimous decision that night. However, the pay-per-view did big numbers, selling 1.3 million PPVs, and so there was always going to be talks of a rematch. Once Usman knocked out Burns at UFC 258 and was able to turnaround quickly, the UFC decided to give Masvidal the rematch. The pair now headline UFC 261, which is set to take place April 24 in Jacksonville, Florida.
Speaking to TMZ Sports, Usman explained how the rematch with Masvidal came to be. According to the champ, it was actually his idea to fight Masvidal again. “The Nigerian Nightmare” said that he had the pick of the litter and could have fought anyone at 170lbs, but he and his manager Ali Abdelaziz had a meeting with UFC president Dana White, and they told him that their preferred opponent was Masvidal. The UFC agreed and booked it.
“Let’s be honest, I have a pick, I can do whatever I want to do. I’ve cleared the division off, now it’s time to lap everybody. It’s like we’re running a race and now I’m about to lap everybody. I told Dana, ‘Hey Dana, give me him.’ He’s a tough guy. I know he’s a tough guy, it’s risky, it’s dangerous. But guess what? I’m putting a nail in the coffin, once and for all. And that’s how this fight got made. Obviously, my manager does a phenomenal job at being able to facilitate and put together the things that I want to happen, but this fight only happened just because of that (meeting). Me and my manager went and sat with Dana and we said, ‘Hey, that’s what we want.’ And this is where we’re at now,” Usman said.
“You said you wanted more than six days, guess what? Now I’ve given you six weeks. You asked for three and I doubled it and I gave you six. On April 24, this time there will be no excuse. That’s it, there will be no excuse. You know what I’m looking to do, it’s to put the nail in the coffin. So bring your best game.”
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