Jorge Masvidal was delighted to get “very, very close” to the money he wanted to face UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman after stepping in to replace Gilbert Burns.
Burns was named as Usman’s opponent for the first event at “Fight Island” in the United Arab Emirates this weekend after negotiations between UFC and Masvidal broke down. The 35-year-old had previously been critical of the UFC in a public pay dispute.
Then Burns was forced to pull out of UFC 251 after contracting the coronavirus, and the organization turned to Masvidal.
WHERE IS FIGHT ISLAND? Location, venue, other details
While heading into the fight with just six days’ notice is far from ideal for Masvidal, he was pleased that he was paid closer to what he felt he deserves.
“Friday night’s when they called, Saturday the deal was in place,” Masvidal told ESPN after agreeing to a new multifight contract.”We had to break them down. That’s why some people don’t seem too happy to see me, you can see it in their face. I’m going to do my job always, I’m going provide for me and my family.
“I see on pay-per-view what I bring in, we know — me and my team — what I deserve, so when we got undercut and low-balled, (I said) ‘All right, cool, no problem. Let’s see what happens.’
“I told several people, ‘Watch, at the last moment they’re probably gonna call me back and some craziness is going to happen.’ I didn’t get exactly what I wanted, but I got very, very close to it.
“I’m happy because I get to break this guy’s face and get paid for it. But what I’m not going to do, which I’ve done a long part of my career, is get underpaid. That’s not going to happen from here going forward. Moving forward after this fight they’re going to treat me accordingly or I’ll just step in last minute, six days to go, and get paid then, I guess.”
Masvidal will need to cut about 20 pounds to make weight for the fight. He said that although he kept active after initial talks with the UFC ended, he “wasn’t training like if I had a fight camp.”
Masvidal owns the BMF belt after defeating Nate Diaz by TKO (doctor stoppage) last November. Diaz criticized the UFC for going with Burns, and now Masvidal would like to offer him — and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, who handed him his last defeat in November 2017 — a shot at the title if he wins.
“There’s two guys that are on my radar and Nate is definitely one of them, because, no matter what, it’s a good fight and me or the world didn’t get the results we wanted,” he said. “I know Nate obviously wants to run it back. I’m telling you I want to run it back, so when I get this title there would nothing be better than to give him the opportunity he gave me to fight for the belt.
“Another dude who we’re definitely going to be scraping at some point is Thompson, not because of anything personal, but I would just love to run it back. I could definitely do better than that night that we first met. That’s definitely something that’ll be happening.”
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