Ahead of this month’s blockbuster UFC welterweight title rematch against former foe, Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal, incumbent division best, Kamaru ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ Usman has revealed that this time around — he wants to “break” the spirit of the challenger on April 24th.
Headlining UFC 261 as part of a championship tripleheader, Usman travels to the sold-out Vystar Veteran’s Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida — attempting to lodge the fourth successful defence of his welterweight throne, and his second title knockback of BMF titleholder, Masvidal.
Originally clashing on short notice in the main event of UFC 251 last July on ‘Fight Island’, Usman was first scheduled to stand opposite eventual opponent, Gilbert Burns at the Abu Dhabi, UAE event, until the Brazilian returned a positive COVID-19 test result.
Matching with Masvidal instead, Usman took home a relatively one-sided unanimous decision win over the American Top Team staple — scoring two 50-45 results on two of the three judge’s scorecards.
Whilst that July date came as Masvidal’s most recent Octagon appearance, recent Trevor Wittman mover, Usman finally met with former Sanford MMA teammate, Burns in the main event of UFC 258 in February — stopping the surging contender with a third-round rallying knockout.
Immediately expressing his interest in another grudge match with Masvidal afterward, Usman painted a narrative that he was intent on leaving the Floridian no excuses of the short notice variety this time around.
Speaking with ESPN MMA reporter, Brett Okamoto ahead of the April 24th. re-run, Usman detailed how he plans on breaking the spirit of Masvidal at UFC 261, akin to his prior opponents on his stunning thirteen-fight promotional-perfect run.
“Honestly, I don’t think I broke him (Jorge Masvidal) the way that I wanted to break him,” Usman said. “There’s something that satisfies me when I fight guys — and that’s the thing years ago, I believe Jon (Jones) spoke about this. When you’re in there with the opponent, there’s an intimate moment — it’s such an intimate moment. Only you and that guy know what’s going on. Only you and that guy know how hard he hits you. Only you and that guy know how hard I’m coming at you. And with Masvidal, I don’t think I broke him the way I wanted to.“
“With everyone else, I know when I’ve broke them — I know when I’ve broke their spirit, when I broke their heart. And with him, I don’t feel like I fully got there. And so, that’s really what I’m after. That’s what’s addicting to me — that’s why I continue to do this, it’s been able to break the guy to where, when they wake up in the morning and they have to think about me, they just know ‘That guy’s better than me’.“
The July loss to Usman snapped a massive three-fight rise for Masvidal who has scored finishes over former welterweight title challenger, Darren Till, a record-setting flying knee over Ben Askren, and the aforementioned, BMF title with a November 2019 doctor’s stoppage win over Nate Diaz.