After ascending to stardom with a 3-0 2019 that included a record-breaking knockout of Ben Askren and Madison Square Garden-headliner opposite Nate Diaz, Masvidal mounted two challenges for the 170-pound gold. While the first saw him fly to Abu Dhabi on short notice and fall to a five-round decision, the rematch was over a lot faster.
In the UFC 261 main event last April, champion Usman welcomed fans back to arenas in style, sleeping “Gamebred” with a brutal right hand in the second round.
At the age of 37 and having slipped further down the welterweight ladder with a convincing loss to arch-rival Colby Covington earlier this year, many have suggested that the ship has sailed when it comes to Masvidal’s championship goals.
However, the Miami native has consistently shared a differing view, as has his manager.
Manager Details Ideal Options For Masvidal’s Career-End
During an interview with MMA Underground on UFC X’s radio row during International Fight Week, founder and CEO of First Round Management Malki Kawa discussed the next step for Masvidal’s career.
After suggesting that they’ll assess a top-five opponent to target once the ‘BMF’ titleholder overcomes some niggling injuries and the legal troubles that his alleged attack on Covington induced, Kawa noted that Masvidal still wants to work his way to a trilogy fight with Usman, which could mark his final outing.
“Somebody in that top five (is next), bro… First fight he took on six days’ notice, with Kamaru… The next fight, Masvidal was doing good in that first round, and then he gets caught and he gets KO’d,” Kawa recalled. “So that haunts him a little bit, right. So, he wants to fight somebody, get his name back in there in that top five, beat somebody, and then he wants to fight Kamaru one last time. Then that might be it.”
While the path to Usman and the title is unclear at the moment, it could become a lot shorter should rival Leon Edwards manage to dethrone “The Nigerian Nightmare” at UFC 278 next month.
Similar to recent comments by Masvidal himself, who accepted an offer to be the Brit’s first defense in London, Kawa stated that “Gamebred” has to be the one to challenge Edwards for the belt should “Rocky” leave Utah with it.
From there, a victory and title crowning could well lead to the desired third date in the cage with Usman.
“The beautiful thing about it, too, is if Leon beats Kamaru, I mean, you’ve got the three-piece and a soda. (That fight) then has to happen,” Kawa said. “Then there would be no better way than for him to go fight Leon, and then to fight Kamaru after that. It’s like, if you ever wanted to write a story — but you gotta rely on Leon beating Kamaru.
“To me, for the sport, for Masvidal, for Leon even, if Leon wins that belt and he gets to fight Masvidal for that belt in London, that’s gonna be the biggest payday of Leon’s career, and deservedly so if he beats Kamaru. I think Masvidal will be up for that task,” Kawa concluded.
Do you think Jorge Masvidal can work his way back to a trilogy with Kamaru Usman if the champ defeats Leon Edwards?