It looks like Jorge Masvidal could be getting the chance for a repeat…
The UFC is eyeing a welterweight rematch between the 35-year-old Cuban and Peruvian American mixed martial artist and Nate Diaz, according to UFC president Dana White.
Bout agreements haven’t been signed, but both sides are reportedly interested in the rematch.
The UFC is looking to book the rematch as the next bout for both Masvidal and Diaz, but a date hasn’t been set. TMZ has reported that the fight is targeted for UFC 256 on December 12. But sources tell ESPN the fight could also take place in January.
Masvidal and Diaz squared off last November in the main event of UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden for the inaugural BMF Championship. Masvidal (35-14) defeated Diaz via TKO when ringside physicians stopped the bout after the third round due to a facial cut. Diaz protested the stoppage.
Diaz (20-12) has not fought since the loss to Masvidal. The 35-year-old Mexican American welterweight fought twice in 2019 after a three-year layoff. He defeated Anthony Pettisin August of 2019 before losing to Masvidal in November.
The 35-year-old Cuban and Peruvian American mixed martial artist has signed a new multi-fight contract with the UFC ahead of his bout against Kamaru Usman at UFC 251.
Masvidal tells ESPN the UFC didn’t give him every single thing he asked for but that the deal came “very, very close” to that and he’s “happy” with it.
Masvidal had been one of the most vocal UFC stars in years on the topic of fighter pay. Last month, the welterweight star tweeted that if the UFC didn’t think he was worth it, the promotion should release him.
Those tweets were made as the negotiations between the UFC and Masvidal for a welterweight title fight against Usman fell apart.
On Sunday — just six days before the fight — the two sides finally came to an agreement.
Usman will defend his welterweight belt against Masvidal in the main event of UFC 251 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
Usman’s previous opponent, Gilbert Burns, withdrew Friday because of illness. Masvidal is stepping in on six days’ notice, though he was the challenger the UFC tabbed in the first place before contract talks stalled out.
“I’m happy more than anything because I get to break this guy’s face and get paid for it,” Masvidal said.
Masvidal said the UFC’s first offer last month for him to fight Usman was a “s— deal on the pay-per-view end and on the guaranteed side.”
“I can understand you don’t want to give me that much on the guaranteed,” Masvidal said. “But on the pay-per-view, what I bring in, what people purchase, I want more money on that, and they weren’t budging. And that was that. So, all this craziness had to happen for them to come to their senses.”
Masvidal said he won’t stop speaking up about what he perceives as an issue with how much fighters get paid. But he said things have gotten closer to an understanding between him personally and the UFC.
“We’re not there yet, but we’re headed in that direction,” Masvidal said. “Moving forward after this fight, they’re gonna treat me accordingly. Or I’ll just step in last minute six days to go and get paid then, I guess. That’s the new scheme I have to do, whatever. But I’m gonna get paid every time out.”
Masvidal flew to Las Vegas on Sunday and passed a COVID-19 test. He was quarantining in his hotel room Sunday night and will be taking a private jet to Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Usman is expected to leave Las Vegas on Monday as well.
Regarding training and being ready to fight, Masvidal said he wasn’t in a full training camp because he didn’t know he’d be competing in a fight until this weekend. But “Gamebred” said he had been at his American Top Team gym two or three times a week and lifting and staying active. Masvidal said he weighed 192 pounds on Saturday. He’ll have to weigh 170 pounds at maximum this coming Friday for the title fight to be official.
“I never stopped training,” Masvidal said. “I’m always training. But I’m not always in the gym doing the specifics.” Masvidal said that he believes he’s in adequate shape to fight Saturday, while taking a shot at Usman compared with two of Masvidal’s recent opponents.
“If you’re asking me, are you in shape?” Masvidal said. “… Maybe not to fight Ben Askren. I’m not in Ben Askren shape, because he’s a hell of a wrestler. Or even to fight a guy like Darren Till. But am I in shape for this bum I’m about to decapitate and baptize? Hell yeah.”
Masvidal will have 48 career pro fights Saturday when he makes the walk against Usman (pending further COVID-19 protocols in Abu Dhabi). That’s the second most ever for a fighter appearing in his or her first UFC title fight.
If he wins, Masvidal already knows whom he wants to defend the welterweight belt against: Nate Diaz and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.
The 35-year-old Cuban and Peruvian American mixed martial will fight Kamaru Usman in a welterweight title fight on Saturday at UFC 251 on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
Masvidal passed his coronavirus test, and both he and Usman will be leaving Las Vegas for Abu Dhabi later Monday, sources said.
Usman will be on a charter flight, and Masvidal will fly on a private jet, according to sources.
After arriving in Las Vegas on Sunday, both fighters had to take a coronavirus test and then quarantine while awaiting the results. Had they not passed the tests, the fight wouldn’t have been able to happen.
The UFC worked to salvage Usman’s presence on the card after Gilbert Burns was forced to withdraw Friday night.
For the past two months, the UFC and Masvidal were far apart on contract talks to make this fight happen. In the end, the UFC decided to walk away from negotiations about a month ago and gave the title fight to Burns, who recently beat former champion Tyron Woodley.
Afterward, Masvidal posted a series of tweets criticizing the UFC for its business practices and questioning whether the relationship would be severed for some time. But once Burns was forced off the card late Friday, momentum started to build for the original plan, which is a grudge match months in the making.
Usman and Masvidal have been embroiled in a heated feud that saw the duo get into a shouting match at Super Bowl media row earlier this year in Miami.
On Saturday afternoon, Usman tweeted, “Might be time for the pig to squeal.” Masvidal’s co-manager posted a series of Instagram stories showing Masvidal on the phone, with the caption “negotiating.”
Of course, during the coronavirus pandemic, it isn’t as simple as just agreeing to a fight. Masvidal took and passed a coronavirus antibody test Saturday afternoon. That test shows whether an individual has been exposed to the coronavirus but doesn’t indicate whether the person currently has the virus. The fighters still have to pass more coronavirus tests before fight night, as will all the fighters competing this month in Abu Dhabi.
Masvidal is considered one of the most popular fighters in the sport, with many believing that he was the 2019 fighter of the year after he picked up impressive wins over Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz.
In his highly anticipated return to the Octagon after a three year absence, the 34-year-old Latino mixed martial artist was excellent in a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) win over Anthony Pettis in the co-main event of UFC 241on Saturday at the Honda Center.
Diaz had not fought since a loss to Conor McGregor at UFC 202on August 20, 2016.
He imposed his will on Pettis early and often. Diaz was able to press Pettis against the cage in every round and land punch combinations, elbows and knees. He closed the first and third rounds in good positions on the ground, an area he also controlled when the fight went there.
Afterward, Diaz said he is interested in fighting Jorge Masvidalnext, adding that he was impressed by Masvidal’s five-second knockout of Ben Askren last month.
“All respect to the man, but there ain’t no gangsters in this game anymore. There ain’t nobody who does it right but me and him,” said Diaz, who hails from Stockton, California, and enjoyed a huge partisan crowd on Saturday. “So I know my man’s a gangster, but he ain’t no West Coast gangster.”
At his postfight news conference, UFC president Dana Whitesaid he wouldn’t be opposed to making Diaz-Masvidal fight if that’s what both fighters wanted next.
Diaz (20-11) went 1-1 against McGregor in 2016. They were two of the biggest pay-per-view events in Ultimate Fighting Championshiphistory. Diaz has a huge cult following among fans for his irreverence, exciting fighting style and propensity to flip a double bird. He had not fought since that star-making year because he wasn’t able to come to terms with the UFC.