News broke overnight on Friday July 3rd that UFC 251’s main event between Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns was cancelled, due to Burns and his two cornermen all testing positive for Covid-19. It now seems that Street Jesus is ready to step in and save the day for the UFC.
According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, the UFC and Jorge Masvidal are currently in active negotiations for ‘Gamebred’ to step in as a late replacement for Burns and take the title fight he believes he is owed.
Masvidal and Usman were originally slated to meet at this event before pay disputes between the challenger and the UFC saw them walk away from negotiations and instead offer the fight to Usman’s team-mate Burns, who had just beaten former champion Tyron Woodley.
‘Gamebred’ refused to budge though, becoming vocal on social media about the issues he has with fighter pay and he got a lot of support for his thoughts – including from Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
It seems now though that the UFC may be willing to cave to his demands as they look to keep the biggest card of the year alive for Fight Island.
While there are many hurdles to overcome, Masvidal posted to his Instagram story overnight pictures of himself being tested for Covid-19. This is a sure-fire sign that talks are ongoing and a flight to Abu Dhabi would be relatively easy for the UFC to sort out if they can get a deal done quickly.
Champ Kamaru Usman has already commented, signalling his intention to take the fight if it is indeed offered to him on short notice.
It’s a fight that has long been spoken about, with Masvidal earning a title shot following his three huge KO wins in 2019 over Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz. While Usman has defended the title just once since dethroning Tyron Woodley, his performance in his win against Colby Covington earned him rave reviews and has seen him widely accepted as one of the most dominant champions in the company.
Usman won that fight by KO after a gruelling striking match but he won’t want to get involved in a brawl with Street Jesus Masvidal. He’ll be likely to go back to his wrestling game, which saw him dominate the likes of Rafel Dos Anjos, Demian Maia and Woodley.
The last time someone came into the Octagon againt Masvidal with the game-plan of taking him down and out-wrestling him though, he caved Ben Askren’s skull in with a flying knee inside 5 seconds.
Regardless of your thoughts on how the fight will go down, it’s a fight that is super necessary.