Even after losing the first fight in 2020, Jorge Masvidal was granted a huge opportunity to face reigning UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in a rematch. And for “The Nigerian Nightmare,” any 170-pounder who signs up to fight him is being given that life-changing “gift.”
“Everybody that I fight now, I’m giving a gift,” Usman told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto in a recent interview. “Because let’s be honest, everybody knows that when you fight the champion, you make the most… your purse is a lot bigger. So this was a gift to anybody that I chose to give it to.
“Had it been Edwards, it would’ve been a gift. Had it been Covington, it would’ve been a gift. Of course, had it been Masvidal, it would’ve been a gift.”
Usman recognizes the star power behind Masvidal’s name. But as the current welterweight king, he knows he brings in a lot more value.
“Does he bring a little more eyes? Absolutely. I don’t take that away from him. I’m proud of him for everything that he’s done. Absolutely proud of him,” Usman said of Masvidal. “And respect in that aspect.
“But, let’s be honest, I have what everybody wants. It’s green panty night when you fight me.
“He’s not getting the pay-per-views and stuff like that on his own. He has to fight me. Is he the biggest name in the division out of all these guys? Absolutely. But he’s the first one that I’m lapping right now in the division.”
Usman vs. Masvidal 2 will headline UFC 261, the first event in 13 months to be held in front of a live audience. It takes place on April 24 at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.