April 14, 2021

Nigerian Nightmare’s manager shoots down Masvidal rematch claims

Nigerian Nightmare’s manager shoots down Masvidal rematch claims

Kamaru Usman lands a punch on Jorge Masvidal during their UFC welterweight title fight on 12 July 2020. (Photo by USA Today Sports)

The manager of UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has shot down reports that a rematch with Jorge Masvidal has been agreed upon by both parties.

Masvidal at the weekend, while serving as part of the commentary team for Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s one-sided pummelling of Avni Yildirim, claimed that he’s already booked a date for his title fight rematch against the Nigerian Nightmare.

In an interview with Boxing Social, the 36-year-old American claimed that he was already cementing his second shot at the UFC welterweight crown later this year after he fell to Usman by unanimous decision in their first meeting on 12 July 2020.

“Right now I’m focused on me fighting for the belt, which is going to be in August/September, actually September, we just got word on this,” Masvidal said. “So you’re like the second person actually to know this right now. That’s just how luck works man. A lot of MMA media sites are going to be mad I dropped onto yours first, boxing of all people. They’re going to call me a traitor. But that’s what I’m worried about.”

While a fight against Usman may still happen down the line, the Nigerian Nightmare’s manager Ali Abdelaziz, in a statement on Sunday, shot down reports that the fight is a done deal or that a date has already been determined.

“Masvidal doesn’t decide anything,” Abdelaziz said. “He needs to sit down and keep working his wrestling. When the champ makes a decision maybe he will give them an opportunity but for now nothing [is] happening.”

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Following a third-round TKO over former teammate Gilbert Burns at UFC 258, Usman immediately turned his attention to Masvidal after the latter had taken numerous shots at him after accepting their first fight on just six days’ notice.

Usman, 33, promised a much more decisive victory in a rematch while reminding Masvidal that he wasn’t at his best when they met the first time after he also endured a wild travel schedule coupled with a fight cancellation after Burns was pulled from the card after he tested positive for Covid-19.

“This time I want to stop him for real because I think that’s the only thing that’s going to close his mouth,” Usman said following his win over Burns at UFC 258 on February 14. “Pretending [and] walking around here like he’s Jesus or something. Well, I’m going to put him in a coffin this time.

“This time I will stop him. I promise you. That’s why I was disappointed in myself that last fight because I know I can stop him but with all the circumstances that took place, I just went out there and dominated him from start to finish. This time I will stop him if he wants to step up.”

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