The UFC 261 headliner will feature a rematch between UFC welterweight champion “The Nigerian Nightmare” Kamaru Usman and challenger Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal. Their first encounter was a one-sided showing for the champ, with Usman pulling away on the scorecards with a neutralizing method of victory. The biggest narrative coming into and out of this fight, though, did not center around Usman but rather the six days’ notice Masvidal had for the bout.
The question now is, what will the fight look like when Jorge Masvidal has an appropriate amount of notice and a full training camp? Daniel Cormier cautiously predicts the difference will be massive. The former double-champ also implied that he believes Masvidal has the best chance to dethrone Usman under these new circumstances.
“I think that we’re gonna see a much better fight between these two,” Cormier said on ESPN’s DC & Helwani program. “Is Jorge good enough to close the gap? I don’t know. It’s a tall hill to climb, man. Usman is as good as they come and Masvidal is going to have to fight the absolute perfect fight in order to beat him. But if anybody has that ability, it’s Jorge Masvidal.”
The future Hall-of-Famer may have simply been rendering his vote of confidence in Masvidal’s ability to rise to the occasion of a difficult challenge. The remarks could also be interpreted as Cormier endorsing Masvidal as either the most likely candidate to beat Usman or someone who has as good a chance as anyone else to do so. Given the massive gap in competitive level between Usman’s UFC 245 title defense against Colby Covington and the UFC 251 defense against Masvidal, Covington would most certainly have something to say about these remarks if the latter interpretation is what Cormier meant.
Covington has already stated that he will be ready to step in as an unofficial replacement for the UFC 261 main event. With this in mind, there remains a very slim chance that he will have an opportunity to prove once again how competitive he can be against Usman this Saturday. But if the fight goes off without a hitch, that opportunity will rest on the battle-ready shoulders of Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal.
What do you make of Daniel Cormier’s comments about the upcoming rematch between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal this weekend?