Thursday, January 27, 2022

Kamaru Usman: Jorge Masvidal Didn’t Want It Bad Enough At UFC 251

UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman does not believe Jorge Masvidal wanted to be champion badly enough when granted the opportunity at UFC 251.

The main event between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal was thrown together on six days’ notice after a positive COVID test forced Gilbert Burns to withdraw from the bout. Much was made of Masvidal stepping up on such short notice to accept a task as tall as attempting to dethrone Kamaru Usman, but Usman believes that he, too, receives credit for agreeing to risk it all with only a few days to prepare for a new opponent. Usman also believes that acclimating to a new environment and overcoming a broken nose made the new UFC 251 assignment all the more taxing.

Usman Chalks UFC 251 Performance Up To Masvidal Complacency

Ultimately, Kamaru Usman got the job done against Masvidal with a one-sided unanimous-decision victory where much of the fight was contested against the cage. But that’s just it. The performance that Usman has been widely criticized for only played out that way because one of the two allowed it to happen, and the champion says that it was his opponent, not him.

“There were certain spots in that fight with Masvidal to where he’s up against the fence, and I’m like, ‘I’m not really keeping him here.’ I’m working, but I’m not really keeping him here. He can get off if he wanted to,” Usman told ESPN recently.  “I want him to try to get off because he’s got to use energy to get off. I want him to try to get off.

Kamaru Usman dominates Jorge Masvidal with suffocating performance in UFC  251 main event - MMA Fighting
Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal Against The Cage At UFC 251. Image: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

“And he would just hold me and just kinda make faces and kinda make it look like I was holding him there. And I’m not holding you here. You can get off. But he was content with being there so I’m like, ‘OK, if you’re gonna be content with being there…'”

Jorge Masvidal has always said that he wanted the opportunity to become a UFC champion and that he would make the most of it when that day comes. Well, six days’ notice or not, Usman believes that when it came down to it, Masvidal lacked the true desire to put up a proper fight.

“I’m the champion,” Usman said. “You gotta come take this belt off of me. But you don’t want it that bad. And that’s the biggest thing in my mind is opponents, some of these guys, will kind of help me dictate how this fight’s gonna play out. If you don’t come with your A-games, it’s gonna be an easy night for me. But when you come with you’re A-game, that’s when you really see me bring that dog out.”

Kamaru Usman’s next title defense will be on February 13 at UFC 258 against former teammate Gilbert Burns. In two weeks, we’ll learn if Burns is able to bring out the “dog” in the reigning welterweight champion.

What are your thoughts on Kamaru Usman’s comments on Jorge Masvidal’s UFC 251 performance?

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