It all seemed to nailed on. A summer meeting of undisputed welterweight kingpin, Kamaru ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ Usman, and BMF champion, Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal, was expected to feature at UFC International Fight Week in July. Now, that doesn’t seem the case anymore, at least according to promotional president, Dana White. Usman, who secured the premier defence of his 170-pound throne in December with a late stoppage of arch-rival, Colby Covington – was slated to clash with similar foe, Masvidal this summer.
The Floridian has steamrolled the ranks of the welterweight division, in an almost career resurgence last year. ‘Gamebred’ returned to winning ways with a shocking second-round stoppage of former welterweight title challenger, Darren Till in March at UFC Fight Night London. The American Top Team staple then shocked television sets the world over – launching the fastest knockout in Octagon history, with a five-second flying-knee victory over the then-undefeated, Ben Askren. Rounding off an incredible year – Masvidal headlined UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden – claiming a ‘once-off’ BMF championship against Nate Diaz, via a third-round doctor stoppage.
It seems as if Masvidal had done almost everything necessary to earn his first title tilt in the promotion – seven year’s deep into a complex stint. The #3 ranked contender now has another option for his next outing. Speaking with ESPN reporter, Brett Okamoto – White told how the matchmakers were looking at “something” else for the 35-year-old – without elaborating.
“I don’t know,” White explained when asked about a potential timeline for a pairing with Usman. “We’re talking about – we’re talking about a few different things. We have something else interesting for (Jorge) Masvidal too that we were just talking about yesterday. We’ll see – we’ll see how this whole thing plays out.“
For Masvidal, the top-five contender remained adamant after his win over Diaz – that it was a title-tilt or bust in his next Octagon appearance. However, with these recent developments, speculation can only rise about a potential pairing with former two-weight world champion, Conor McGregor – as well as ATT teammate, Covington.
Before his triumphant return against ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in January at UFC 246, ‘The Notorious’ one outlined a three-fight plan for the coming “season“. After a matchup with Cerrone, McGregor called for a BMF championship challenge against the eventual winner – subsequently, Masvidal.
In terms of a bad-blooded pairing with Covington – it’s a logical next step. Covington’s hugely-competitive back-and-forth with Usman in December goes a long way in aiding him with an almost immediate rematch via a big win.