Masvidal on UFC return timetable: “Hopefully December or November”

Arguably the biggest star in the UFC right now has laid out the timeline for him to return to the octagon. Last night, the BMF Jorge Masvidal (35-14) took on cornhole pro, Cody Henderson, on ESPN.

Following the cornhole grudge match, Masvidal was asked about his UFC return by ESPN. Masvidal replied, “Hopefully, December or November… My opponent has a broken nose.. due to me…he’s going to be out for a couple days… I think next week we’re going to find out just how long he’s out for and then we’ll start determining who will be the next fight and where”

Who will the UFC have face the BMF?

Masvidal is clearly talking about welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, in that interview. Masvidal lost a decision to Usman back at UFC 251. Gamebred took the fight on one week’s notice.

Masvidal looked fantastic in the first round, but it became apparent that he didn’t have the gas tank to deal with Usman’s style. Usman was able to implement his game plan and win the fight.

The fight did massively well selling 1.3 million PPV buys. The UFC could no longer deny the fact that Masvidal had become a huge star. However, Dana White has said multiple times that Gilbert Burns will be next for the champion.

With that, who will Masvidal fight? Colby Covington and Tyron Woodley are scheduled to fight at some point in the next couple of months which takes them off the table.

The only opponent that would make sense from a rankings perspective is either Leon Edwards or Stephen Thompson. Masvidal has said that he’d love to get the Wonderboy fight back after losing a decision in their first fight.

Of course, Edwards and Masvidal do have history. They got into a backstage scuffle after the UFC‘s BMF knocked out Darren Till in London. I would think the UFC would lean towards Edwards for Masvidal’s next fight.

Either way, it looks like we have a general timeline for the return of Gamebred. What do you think? Who do you think Masvidal should fight upon his return to the octagon?

UFC: Gilbert Burns Healthy And Back In Line For The Belt

UFC 251 wasn’t a good time for current welterweight contender Gilbert Burns. He was supposed to be one of the headline fighters in the event, and in fact, it was originally going to be titled “UFC 251: Usman vs Burns.” That all changed, however, when Burns was diagnosed with a positive case of coronavirus and was pulled from the event only days before it happened.

The title shot against Kamaru Usman he’d been waiting for vanished into nothing, and Burns was once again back in the contender list as the fight was changed to one between Usman and Jorge Masvidal. We all know how that went. Just as Burns predicted, Usman controlled the fight and came away with the victory.

Now, Burns is healthy again and is once again in the running to fight Usman.

“I’m very happy with the results from the test after being quarantined for two weeks at home,” Burns said to MMAFighting. “I’m thankful and very happy I can go back to my regular routine.”

Elsewhere, Burns spoke about already talking to Dana White. According to him, White is on board with the plan for him to fight Usman, which was the fight that was originally scheduled before Burns’ diagnosis threw the plans off.

Despite the minor bump in the road, Burns does have the record to earn this title shot, with his last fight being a victory against former champion Tyron Woodley. He also entered the Woodley fight on a five fight winning streak that includes a victory over Demian Maia, who is recognized as one of the best jiu-jitsu practitioners in the world.

But can Burns handle a champion that was able to push Jorge Masvidal aside with ease? The answer to that question is still up in the air, and hopefully, there won’t be a surprising interruption this time to keep us from finding out.

UFC: Gilbert Burns & Leon Edwards argue over who’s more deserving of the next title shot

This past weekend at UFC 251, Kamaru Usman (17-1) successfully defended his welterweight title. After the event, UFC president Dana White said that Gilbert Burns (19-3) would be next for the title.

However, Leon Edwards (18-3) took exception to this. Edwards, who is on an eight fight winning streak responded to Burns on Twitter of the weekend stating why he deserves to be next. What resulted was a fiery back and forth between the two.

Who deserves the next UFC title shot?

If you’re looking at the two men on paper, Burns definitely deserves the title shot. Yes, Burns stepped in for Edwards to fight Woodley. Yes, the UFC offered Edwards the shot before Burns, but that doesn’t matter at the end of the day.

Burns has the better resume, and Burns presents an interesting angle. Being a former teammate and the most difficult stylistic matchup for Usman is very appealing.

I can understand where Edwards is coming from. The UFC offered him several big opportunities that he had to turn down due to the inability to train with the pandemic going on.

Edwards could be in a bit of a tough spot. The UFC has made it clear that they are going with Burns with the next title shot. I don’t think Edwards is going to get either Colby Covington (15-2) or Jorge Masvidal (35-14) in his next fight.

I think the UFC will likely pair those two up for a fight. Tyron Woodley (19-5-1) has lost a couple of lopsided fights in a row which doesn’t make him appealing. Maybe Stephen Thompson (15-4-1) would be the best fight for Edwards?

You have to feel for the spot that Edward’s is in. You can’t blame him for wanting the shot since he was actually offered the fight before Burns. Who do you think deserves to be next for the UFC‘s welterweight title?

UFC: Fights to make after UFC 251

Following any major UFC event, the fans want to know what comes next? UFC held their first event on Fight Island last night, and everyone wants to know what fights are going to be made following UFC 251. Here are five fights that the UFC should make.

Kamaru Usman vs Gilbert Burns

This is a fight that we basically got confirmed from UFC president Dana White last night. In the post-fight press conference, White made it clear that Gilbert Burns (19-3) would be the next challenger for Kamaru Usman (17-1).

Burns was originally scheduled to be in the main event last night, but a positive COVID-19 test took him out. Once he recovers, he is the first guy in line for Usman. He’s also the one fighter who is the worst matchup for Usman in the division.

Usman did not win any new fans at UFC 251, but the champion did what he had to do in defeating Jorge Masvidal (35-14). Usman leaned on his wrestling and controlled the BMF title holder for five rounds.

Burns and Usman matchup extremely well. Usman’s wrestling can be neutralized by Burns’ elite skills on the ground. Burns has elite striking and speed which can give Usman issues.

Usman and Burns were once teammates which adds in another wrinkle to the fight. Expect this matchup to be booked in October/November.

Jorge Masvidal vs Colby Covington

Gamebred stepped up on six days notice, but he fell short in his quest to become the UFC’s welterweight champion. He made it clear that he wants to stay active and work his way back to the title. The quickest route to that is against his former training partner.

Colby Covington (15-2) would make the perfect opponent. Both men used to live together, but now they can’t stand each other. Both are coming off a loss to Usman which is a perfect setup for the fight.

This fight would have a ton of heat, and the winner would be guaranteed another shot at the UFC‘s welterweight title. With the drawing power of both men, this could headline a card on it’s own. I wouldn’t be shocked to see this one occur around the same time that we see Usman-Burns.

Weili Zhang vs Rose Namajunas

It was known that the winner of the Rose Namajunas (9-4) and Jessica Andrade (20-8) fight would likely get the next shot at UFC strawweight champion, Weili Zhang (21-1). Both women went to war last night, but Namajunas walked away with a decision.

To me, Namajunas has always been the second best strawweight in the world. I thought she was always better than Andrade, but got caught in that slam. I also firmly believe that Zhang is the absolute best in the world.

Thug Rose is going to get the title shot after last night’s victory, but I’m not sure how I feel about the matchup for her. This fight could be a springboard for Zhang.

If Zhang is able to defeat Namajunas, she could aim for a champion versus champion fight with Valentina Shevchenko next.

Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling

The UFC crowned a new bantamweight king last night, and his name is Petr Yan (15-1). It didn’t come easy, but Yan was able to stop Jose Aldo (28-7) in the fifth round to claim the UFC‘s bantamweight champion.

Last month, Aljamain Sterling (19-3) made an emphatic statement that he’s the top contender at 135 pounds. In a fight with Cory Sandhagen (12-2) which was considered a title eliminator, Sterling finished Sandhagen in under 90 seconds.

Many people believe that Sterling was more deserving of a title shot than Yan was. Well, now the UFC can move to make this fight. There might not be a more exciting division in the UFC than bantamweight right now. Yan/Sterling is going to be incredibly fun to watch.

Alexander Volkanovski vs Winner of Zabit Magomedsharipov-Yair Rodriguez

The UFC‘s featherweight king didn’t get the clean victory he wanted last night. Many people, including Dana White, believe that he lost the fight. However, the judges are all that matter and they gave the fight to Alexander Volkanovski (22-1).

I can’t see the UFC moving to book Volkanovski-Holloway 3 with Alexander being up 2-0 in the series. The Australian champ wants to fight by the end of the year, so what makes the most sense?

Reportedly, Zabit Magomedsharipov (18-1) and Yair Rodriguez (13-2-1) are supposed to fight in August. Magomedsharipov is currently ranked right behind Holloway while Rodriguez is ranked fifth.

Both of these men are extremely popular and talented fighters. I think the UFC would be smart to make this fight the title eliminator. Brian Ortega and Chan Sung Jung who are also supposed to fight this year, have already had shots at the title.

Magomedsharipov is considered the next great Russian champion that’s in the UFC. If Zabit can defeat Rodriguez in August, it would be a massive global fight to pair him with the champion, Volkanovski.

UFC has great fights ahead

The UFC is going to put on some stacked cards the rest of this year. All of the fights listed above should take place before we hit 2021. Combine those with the fights that are already scheduled, and you should be expecting some stacked cards in the second half of 2020.

UFC: Gilbert Burns Predicts Boring Victory For Kamaru Usman At UFC 251

It’s one day out from UFC 251, notable for being the UFC’s first numbered event at Fight Island, and the predictions are starting to roll in for the headline fight of Kamaru Usman versus Jorge Masvidal.

The fight is for the welterweight belt and was originally set to involve Usman and challenger Gilbert Burns. But things changed when Burns came down with coronavirus. At first, it looked like no welterweight title fight was going to happen at all. Then, it was switched to Masvidal versus Usman, which is the matchup that we have coming up right now.

Despite being out of the fight, though, Burns has his own ideas about who will win.

Did Burns pick Usman or Masvidal in the main event?

Burns spoke to TMZ and in his prediction, he had Usman winning and defending his belt.

“I see Kamaru dominating, that’s what I see. I think a lot of people get a big expectation in this matchup, but it can only go two ways, or Masvidal can catch him and knock him out inside two rounds. But the way I see the fight going is Kamaru dominating,” he stated.

Before his TKO victory against Colby Covington for his first title defense, Usman’s last four victories came by unanimous decision. He’s no strangers to fights that have been accused of being boring, and that’s the kind of fight that Burns believes this one will be.

“Even a boring fight, I’d say, Kamaru takes him down and smashes him on the cage. I don’t want that as a fan, but I believe it’s gonna be a boring fight, Kamaru controlling every aspect of the fight,” Burns stated.

Burns is currently the number one contender, so it will sting a bit more than normal for him to miss out on this fight because of pulling out late. He’s still, however, in a position to fight for the title in the future – one can hope that by then, the UFC is returning to normal operations and no longer has to fear the effects of a pandemic.

UFC: Gilbert Burns on if Masvidal wins at UFC 251: “It’s gonna be a circus”

We are just a few days away from the UFC‘s first card on Fight Island. There has been so much going on over the past few days that it’s felt like a UFC circus.

Top contender, Gilbert Burns (19-3), was removed from his UFC title fight after testing positive for COVID-19. Original number one contender, Jorge Masvidal (35-13), stepped up to replace Burns. Burns was interviewed by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto where he was asked about all of the events over the past week.

“I heard Masvidal jumped in, and to be honest, I’m happy with that… That’s the fight that everyone wanted.” Burns said to Okamoto. Burns was asked about his feelings on the fight and future opportunities to which he responded, “If Masvidal wins, things are going to get crazy in the division. It’s gonna be a circus…” Burns said with a smile.

UFC’s welterweight picture & Gilbert Burns’ future

After watching the full interview, you cannot walk away not being a fan of Gilbert Burns. Most people would be completely devastated still after losing this opportunity. However, Burns continues to smile just wanting to get back into the cage.

Burns does have a good point about the UFC‘s welterweight division. If Masvidal is able to win on Saturday, the division is going to get turned on it’s head. Masvidal is not going to fight the next guy in-line, but instead, he’s going to look for the fight with the most dollar signs.

If Usman is able to retain his UFC welterweight title, Burns might get the next shot. However, there is always the possibility that the UFC runs the fight back with Masvidal giving Gambred a full training camp. If you’re a contender in the division like Burns, you should be pulling for Usman to win on Saturday. If Jorge Masvidal is able to claim the UFC title, you might see someone like Nate Diaz or Conor McGregor get the next shot at the welterweight title.

BREAKING: Kamaru Usman – Jorge Masvidal is done. Fight set to main event next Saturday’s UFC 251 card

The deal is done. The UFC has agreed to a deal with welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (16-1) and Jorge Masvidal (35-13) for next week’s UFC card on Yas Island. UFC‘s first Fight Island card is going to be headlined by the fight that was talked about all year long. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani has been on this story from the beginning.

How did we get here for UFC 251

Jorge Masvidal won the UFC‘s Male Fighter of the Year award in 2019 after three impressive wins. He won the BMF title, and was set to take on the winner of Kamaru Usman/Colby Covington. After Usman successfully defended his title, Masvidal set his targets on the Nigerian champion. The two had a run in at the Super Bowl which added more fuel to the fire of their fight.

It’s no secret that Masvidal has become a big UFC star, and he wanted to be paid like it. However, wanting to get paid like a star is where the fight negotiations took a turn for the worse. The UFC became frustrated with negotiations and gave the fight to Gilbert Burns over Masvidal. However, Burns tested positive for COVID-19 which opened the door for this fight again.

The UFC came to the table with a strong offer, and they got the deal done. Late last night, the two sides were very close to a deal, and they two sides reached an agreement today. Masvidal was flown on a private jet to Las Vegas to begin his testing precautions for the fight.

The fight that needed to happen

This is the fight that UFC fans wanted all along. Two massive stars who had legitimate beef going into the fight. This is the proper main event that the UFC‘s first card on Fight Island should have. In sports, you have rare times where you need to capitalize on a fighter’s stardom. This is the time to capitalize on Masvidal’s stardom. He needed to fight for the title, and it’s a very good thing that the UFC was able to pull this off.

UFC is close to finalizing Kamaru Usman – Jorge Masvidal for UFC 251’s main event

The UFC is close to finalizing the welterweight title fight that the fans have been anxious to see this entire year. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani is reporting that the UFC is progressing in talks to book Kamaru Usman (16-1) and Jorge Masvidal (35-13) for next week’s UFC 251 card on Fight Island.

The UFC is making a push

Late Friday evening, the UFC heard some bad news as top contender, Gilbert Burns, tested positive for COVID-19. After Masvidal’s contract negotiations fell apart to fight Usman for the UFC title, the surging Burns got the shot. Following the news of Burns’ positive test, the UFC went into scramble mode. The likes of Masvidal and Colby Covington were both offering to step in.

Masvidal was supposed to fight Usman from the very beginning. Masvidal was asked initially to take less money which is why the conversation fell apart. Burns in-return got the shot at Usman. However, the UFC came back to the table with Masvidal looking to make a deal after the Burns fight fell through. Helwani reported this morning that both Usman and Masvidal are on their way to Las Vegas.

The fight that always should have happened

One has to feel bad for Burns. Burns’ winning streak earned him a title shot, but now his shot is no longer guaranteed. After Burns tested positive, the UFC has put the full-court press on to make Usman/Masvidal for next week’s PPV on Yas Island. If the fight is remotely competitive, you might see the two men fight twice given that Masvidal is stepping up on one week’s notice.

If this fight does get finalized today, next week’s card is being given a massive bump. While Burns is insanely talented, he’s not the star that Jorge Masvidal is. Masvidal fighting Usman is way bigger for the event than Usman fighting Burns. There are still some hurdles to overcome including COVID testing and required quarantine periods before the two men land on Yas Island, but I’m pretty confident that barring any hiccups, Kamaru Usman will be fighting Jorge Masvidal next Saturday night.

 

UFC: Masvidal willing to step in for Burns, will the UFC make it happen?

Late Friday evening, next week’s UFC 251 card took a massive hit. The main event was taken out by a positive COVID-19 test from welterweight challenger, Gilbert Burns. UFC champion, Kamaru Usman, did not board the charter flight to Fight Island after the news came out. There is no official word from the UFC yet, but the original number one contender has voiced his interest in stepping in.

What will the UFC do?

No disrespect to Gilbert Burns, but this title shot always belonged to Jorge Masvidal. After Masvidal was named fighter of the year in 2019, he earned the title shot. There was so much heat between him and Usman that the fight was guaranteed to sell. However, the negotiations went south when Masvidal was expected to take less money for the title fight than he received for the BMF fight against Nate Diaz.

Negotiations spilled out into the public and Burns was given the shot over Masvidal. Now, Gamebred is saying that he will step in on a week’s notice to take the fight. The question is, will the UFC make it happen? Will the UFC pony up the money it will take for Masvidal to get the shot?

Anything is possible, but my guess is no. If the UFC couldn’t make the fight happen over the course of months of negotiations, I don’t think they will make a last minute fight happen. I think they will be content with rescheduling Burns/Usman for a later date. I hope I’m wrong because I believe that Masvidal deserves to be in that main event spot.

BREAKING: Gilbert Burns out of UFC 251 headliner after testing positive for COVID-19

UFC 251 has taken a hit as Gilbert Burns (19-3) has tested positive for COVID-19. Burns was set to take on welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman (16-1), on Fight Island next Saturday night. MMA Junkie was the first to report the news late Friday evening.

Tough blow for the UFC and Burns

Burns was on the cusp of cementing his status as UFC male fighter of the year. Burns entered 2020 as a solid welterweight contender, but after dominant wins over Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley, it was apparent that Burns was championship material.

Kamaru Usman was originally scheduled to take on Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251. However, contract negotiations fell apart. The surging Burns jumped at the opportunity to take on his now former teammate Usman. Burns became the top ranked welterweight and was given the shot.

What happens next?

As of now, nothing has been announced from the UFC so there is no real idea on what comes next. The likely scenario is that we will see the fight get rebooked for later this year. Perhaps next month on the same card as Cormier/Miocic 3 or perhaps it gets pushed back to September. No matter what, this is a tough blow to next week’s first card on Fight Island. With this news, the featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway will slide into the main event slot.

I do wonder if the UFC tries to revisit the Masvidal fight now that the Burns fight has fallen through. The Masvidal fight had a ton of heat behind it, and it would sell very well. It is unlikely that the UFC would pass over Burns in favor of Masvidal, but it wouldn’t be completely surprising. I still think the likely scenario will be that we see Burns and Usman fight in either August or September.