With news of the scheduled welterweight title fight between champion Kamaru Usman and challenger Gilbert Burns being pulled from next week’s UFC 251 pay-per-view card, there is a scramble but also a discussion that needs to be had. The fight was pulled after Burns and two of his cornermen, including his brother Herbert, tested positive for COVID-19. With many solutions possible, the one that should be made is a call to Jorge Masvidal.
There were already three title fights scheduled for the event, with Usman and Burns in the main event, and while the quickest and possibly smoothest solution is to make the featherweight title fight between Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski the new main event, there’s a BMF champion who deserves this moment.
Back in November, Masvidal secured the ‘BMF’ title (which the UFC put together) with a win over Nate Diaz at UFC 244, and he’s been on ice ever since. Currently riding a three-fight winning streak with wins over Diaz, Ben Askren, and Darren Till, Masvidal has almost become the biggest name in the welterweight division over the champion Usman.
Both Masvidal and Usman already have history with an altercation happening earlier this year, and while there were back-and-forth issues making this fight happen from a financial standpoint, it’s time the UFC pay him what he is worth. The career resurgence including the meteoric rise in popularity for Masvidal, a true veteran in the game, speaks for itself as to why the UFC needs to make this fight.
Even so, ‘Fight Island’ has been under construction since the COVID-19 pandemic started, and with all due respect to the other two title fights on the card, nothing would make the UFC 251 PPV draw more than the Usman-Masvidal grudge match.
Following the news of Burns having to withdraw from the fight, Masvidal posted a simple response showing he’s ready to fight, which was confirmed by his manager to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.
— Jorge Masvidal UFC (@GamebredFighter) July 4, 2020
In showing his readiness and willingness to fight Usman on a week’s notice, Masvidal not only injected excitement back into a possible welterweight title fight, but put the ball in the court of the UFC to make a fight that fans have wanted to see since Masvidal’s win over Diaz.
Colby Covington, who Usman defeated back at UFC 245 in December, has also thrown his name into the hat, but that fight has already been seen and outside of a worthy Gilbert Burns, Jorge Masvidal is the only opponent who makes sense for Usman to defend his title against.
Not often are there calls to rush a replacement for a title fight, but by definition of his title, Masvidal is the Baddest Mother F***er in the game with a belt to prove it, so it’s time the UFC opens the checkbook and pays him his worth, while saving their first and biggest ‘Fight Island’ event at UFC 251.