Those hoping Kamaru Usman would step in and fight at UFC 249 will not get their wish.
Usman had expressed interest in competing on April 18. The card is still without a location as of this writing and has a new main event featuring Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. Usman and Jorge Masvidal hurled ducking accusations against one another but “The Nigerian Nightmare” said his desire to compete on the card went beyond his beef with Masvidal (interview via Yahoo! Sports).
“I’m willing to do that. I’m willing to put my belt up to go in and save the event so every one of these guys can eat.” He added, “Even my opponent I’ll let him make a paycheck on top of it as well.”
Usman Not Fighting At UFC 249
Despite offering to fight at UFC 249, Usman revealed on an Instagram live chat that he will not be inside the Octagon on April 18 (via Aaron Bronsteter).
“There is no potential for me to fight at UFC 249.”
Usman was last seen in action back in Dec. 2019. He successfully defended the UFC welterweight championship against Colby Covington. Usman won the fight via fifth-round TKO.
Many expect Masvidal to be next in line for a shot at Usman’s gold. “Gamebred” is riding a three-fight winning streak. All three of those wins have come by way of knockout or TKO. He’s stopped Nate Diaz, Ben Askren, and Darren Till.
UFC president Dana White has said that Usman vs. Masvidal is possible for International Fight Week in July. The coronavirus pandemic has left a lot of uncertainty in general and the UFC is no exception. While White has been adamant in trying to push forward with all scheduled events, he has faced many roadblocks. At this point, they may be starting to look like brick walls for the UFC brass. Time will tell how much longer the COVID-19 crisis leaves its mark.