Within the headliner at the inaugural 'Fight Island' event, Kamaru Usman continued to cement his welterweight status by going the distance with Jorge Masvidal.
But despite the defeat, Masvidal told Usman post-fight that he will earn a rematch.
The UFC circus made its greatly anticipated trip to the sunny sky's of the Middle East, but just days before arriving at the sandy beaches of Abu Dhabi, disaster struck. Prior to the event, Usman's original opponent Gilbert Burns tested positive for COVID-19 and had to withdraw from the event.
With just six days' notice, Dana White drafted in Masvidal to fight Usman for the welterweight title. On this occasion, Usman retained his belt, but we can certainly expect the pair to meet in the future.
"We're going to run it back. I'll get some victories and we'll run it back," Masvidal told Usman moments after the bell. Moreover, it appears Usman nodded in agreement.
Taking into consideration that Masvidal had just six days to prepare, all the pressure resided in Usman's corner. If Usman won, 'Gamebred' took the fight late notice and it was expected. If Masvidal won, the legitimacy of Usman's welterweight title reign would be questioned.
Preparation and respect for his opponent were key for Usman, and the Nigerian was highly respectful of Masvidal in the post-fight press conference.
"Gambred is the biggest, baddest dude out there right now and I had to switch gears to prepare for him on six days notice," Usman explained.
"I had to make a mental switch, I prepared for Gilbert and I had a completely different gameplay. Gambred is tough and he showed it out there.
"I think Jorge is tough. I’ve always said it. Jorge is a tough guy and I give him credit for that. I’m just levels better," Usman concluded.
The Nigerian didn't pinpoint any fighters that he would like to take on next and opted to keep his cards very close to his chest.
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