Jorge Masvidal and Kamaru Usman were in close proximity ahead of UFC 251.
Masvidal is stepping in this Saturday night (July 11) to challenge Usman for the UFC welterweight championship. Gilbert Burns was initially penciled in to take on Usman on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. Those plans went awry when Burns tested positive for COVID-19. Masvidal and the UFC were able to strike a deal and now “Gamebred” will be receiving his first UFC welterweight title opportunity.
Jorge Masvidal Talks Close Encounter With Kamaru Usman During Fight Week
During an episode of UFC Embedded, Masvidal and Usman were seen in close proximity. Masvidal didn’t notice that Usman was around as he was talking to someone on his phone.
Appearing on ESPN’s SportsCenter, Masvidal told Kenny Mayne that he had no clue Usman was near him until he was shown a video. Masvidal insists that if he had seen Usman, it wouldn’t have been a repeat of his backstage incident with Leon Edwards in early 2019 (h/t MMAJunkie).
“I didn’t know about it until they showed me the video, and that was pretty (expletive) trippy, man,” Masvidal said on “SportsCenter” on Tuesday night. “That was a little surreal because I have great peripherals, but I just happened to look right at my phone, and I had just gotten my eyes dilated, as well, so I had those funky glasses on. So I really couldn’t see that well and, man, it just happened. …
“The bigger part of me wishes I had run into him. Just had a ‘hello, how are you’ type thing, you know? Nothing crazy.”
Masvidal and Usman certainly haven’t been chummy. “Gamebred” believes Usman has “multiple personalities” and comes across as being fake. Usman has said he plans to make Masvidal “squeal like a pig” on fight night.
Going into the title bout, Masvidal is riding a three-fight winning streak. He has beaten Nate Diaz, Ben Askren, and Darren Till in that span. All three of those victories have come by way of knockout or TKO.
As for Usman, his winning streak is at 15. He hasn’t lost a bout since May 2013 and that is his lone pro defeat to this point. The welterweight king is coming off a successful title defense over Colby Covington back in Dec. 2019. Usman scored a fifth-round TKO victory.