Journalism of Courage

UFC 251: Kamaru Usman beats Jorge Masvidal to retain title in Abu Dhabi


Nigerian born Kamura Usman has sights on a rematch with Jorge Masvidal so he can dominate him even more than in Sunday’s main-bout victory at UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi.

The welterweight champion defeated his long-time foe in the Fight Island opener at Flash Forum in an incredibly convincing display to retain his crown. With it, Usman climbed to 12-0 in the UFC.

Masvidal was a late replacement for Gilbert Burns, but for many represented the greatest threat to Usman’s reign. However, the current belt-holder out-muscled his opponent throughout to win by unanimous decision.

Burns has dropped out last week, leaving Masvidal to sign on six days’ notice – something that impacted both fighters. Neither touched down in Abu Dhabi until mid-week.

“Dealing with all the circumstances I had to deal with this whole week; I think in the last three days I slept 10 hours, if that,” Usman said. “And then with the heat, and having to weight cut, it was a very, very challenging week for me mentality. I can’t even tell you guys what it was like mentally.

“And then of course with a guy, with a dog like Jorge Masvidal, it was very challenging. But this is what champions are made of. You have to rise to the occasion and take care of business. And that’s what I did tonight.”

Usman triumphed 50-45, 50-45, 49-46 to make the second successful defence of the belt he won last March from Tyron Woodley. He said he had to be wary against someone of Masvidal’s standing, with the 2019 fighter of the year a dangerous competitor no matter the situation. Masvidal won three times last year, but had not fought since defeating Nate Diaz for the “BMF” title in November.

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