After accepting the bout on less than one week’s notice, many have questioned what type of shape Jorge Masvidal is in ahead of his UFC 251 title fight against 170-pound champion Kamaru Usman, which will take place Saturday on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
According to Dustin Poirier, a training partner of Masvidal at the famed American Top Team, however, Masvidal hasn’t stopped training in recent months even after negotiations initially fell through for the Usman fight.
In fact, “The Diamond” said that Masvidal served as his main training partner leading up to his fight against Dan Hooker earlier this month in Las Vegas.
“It’s a short-notice (fight) because he didn’t have the contract signed,” Poirier explained recently on The Fight with Teddy Atlas podcast via Bloody Elbow. “But let me tell you what, this guy was there my whole training camp. He was my main sparring partner, and we probably put in five weeks of sparring together. He flew in wrestlers, the best wrestlers in the world. I think they put him up, the guys were there just for Jorge. Just for Masvidal to use.
“The guy never stopped training,” he continued. “Even when the fight fell through and they gave it to Burns, it was at the end of my training camp. Jorge was still in the gym every day like he had a fight. I don’t know if he knew something that we didn’t, but the guy was in training camp the whole time and never stopped.
“I think he’s gonna surprise a lot of people with the kind of shape he’s in. His timing is gonna be good.”
Coming off of three-straight stoppage victories over Darren Till, Ben Askren, and Nate Diaz, Jorge Masvidal has transformed into of the sport’s biggest stars over the last year and a half despite being a longtime veteran of the fight game. Usman, meanwhile, is undefeated in the UFC and coming off of back-to-back victories over Tyron Woodley and Colby Covington.
A bout between the two was the clear fight to make earlier this year and while all parties involved couldn’t reach an agreement at first, it will now be coming to fruition in just a few days.
And Poirier, who scored a decision victory over Hooker in a five-round instant classic, is sure that Masvidal is not only prepared to fight but prepared to specifically fight Usman.
“He’s [Masvidal] in fight shape. I know that much. This isn’t a guy coming off the couch,” Poirier said. “This is a guy who was preparing to fight Usman, and the fight fell through, and he kept training.”