UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman insists Jorge Masvidal should be grateful for being given a second chance to capture the belt when they meet in their highly-anticipated rematch on April 24 in Jacksonville, Florida.
Usman (18-1) will attempt to defend his 170-pound title for the fourth time against Masvidal in the main event of UFC 261 at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.
After accepting the first fight on just six days' notice, "Gamebred" was a big underdog heading into the bout, but still managed to cause the defending champion a few problems despite losing a unanimous decision.
Usman said on Tuesday that he believes Masvidal is in his debt due to the financial rewards of fighting for the championship. UFC 251 generated 1.3 million buys, the promotion's biggest pay-per-view number since UFC 229 in October 2018, according to The Athletic's Mike Coppinger.
He is also adamant that he will set the record straight in their rematch as he sees the first fight as a stain on his career that he wants to wash away with an emphatic victory.
"You would only expect like, I mean, come on," Usman said to MMA Junkie. "This guy is giving you an opportunity to make a ton of money and take care of your family, but no, it’s not that. It just shows the difference between certain fighters and myself. It is what it is. I guess he has to say what he needs to say in order to sell the fight.
"I was told earlier that he made a comment and called me a coward going into the fight, and that’s pretty harsh when a guy’s giving you two chances and you’ve made the most money you’ve ever made in your career and put you on the biggest stage you’ve ever been in your career. That’s kinda tough. You’re fighting in a title fight back-to-back times. To call the guy a coward, that seems a little silly to me."
However, Usman knows he will be facing a formidable foe in front of a full capacity crowd, and if there's one thing we know about "The Nigerian Nightmare", it's that he never overlooks any of his opponents.
And based on what happened to Ben Askren, he can only be too careful.
But Usman believes the outcome of their fight will once again prove that he is a level above the rest.
"At the end of the day, I’ve never really taken anything away from him," he added. "He’s a good fighter. He’s a really good fighter. I’ve always shown him that respect, and I think as a sportsman, yeah, he’s a good fighter, but I just think I’m a great fighter. I’m an elite fighter, when these guys are good fighters. At the end of the day, we’re gonna have to go in there and step in, and I’ll make it happen again."News Now - Sport News