Masvidal (35-14 MMA, 12-7 UFC) is set to challenge Usman (18-1 MMA, 13-0 UFC) for the UFC welterweight title for a second time this month in their main event rematch on April 24, which takes place at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+.
The first time Masvidal fought Usman was at UFC 251 in July. He replaced Gilbert Burns on six days’ notice, and initially pointed to a lack of a complete training camp for the loss, despite the fact he was originally in negotiations to fight Usman at the event before he couldn’t reach terms with the UFC.
With the sequel rapidly approaching, Masvidal said he’s going to enter the fight strong. He’s been aware of it for long enough to properly time his weight cut, and after putting his body through agony last time, he anticipates feeling like a different man at UFC 261.
“I’m not going to cut 20 pounds of weight now, mainly of water, in six days,” Masvidal said on Tuesday during an ESPN+ Q&A hosted by Laura Sanko. “As I stand right now I’m eight, nine pounds before I hit the mark of 170. So it’s a different weight cut altogether. That’s going to be the main determining factor I think.”
Masvidal kept his planned tactics for Usman close to the vest. He had trouble fending off the clinch work of the champion in a unanimous decision loss at UFC 251, but vows to turn the tables this time and get his hand raised.
That won’t the last of his encounters with Usman, though. A trilogy fight is already on Masvidal’s mind, because the last thing he wants is for his rival to be able to call thing even.
“When I win the rematch, we definitely will go for the trilogy because I will not go down in history 1-1 with this individual,” Masvidal said. “It’s just not going to happen.”
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Masvidal’s rise to his first UFC title shot came through a “Fight of the Year”-worthy campaign in 2019. It was a slightly surprising rise to a championship bout after more than 14 years in the sport, but it didn’t go his way.
He largely thinks that’s because of the circumstances, but this time there’s “no excuses” to be had, he said. He expects to finally have his crowning achievement come to fruition, and said it’s going to make him feel complete.
“What’s it going to feel like to win that belt? Everything. Everything I’ve put into this sport. I’m going to get the type of sleep I want at night when I have that belt, so, let’s go. Let’s find out.”