A day after Gilbert Burns was forced out of the main UFC 251 event, there is renewed hope that the next week’s welterweight title fight could be saved with an even bigger fight.
According to several sources, there are active negotiations to book Kamaru Usman against Jorge Masvidal as the new main event of UFC 251 on July 11th.
Sources said the talks are ongoing, but they are ongoing and both sides believe that there is a way to make this struggle a reality.
This is significant in that UFC and Masvidal have been far from each other at contract negotiations for this fight in the past two months. In the end, the UFC decided to end negotiations about a month ago, giving Burns the title fight that recently defeated former champion Tyron Woodley.
Masvidal then published a series of tweets criticizing the UFC for its business practices and questioning whether the relationship would be broken for some time.
But when Burns was pushed off the map late Friday night, the momentum began to develop for the original plan, which is a resentment game that has been underway for months. Usman and Masvidal were involved in a heated feud in which the duo got into a screaming match earlier this year at the Super Bowl in Miami.
On Saturday afternoon, Usman tweeted, “It could be time the pig squeaked” while Masvidal’s co-manager posted a series of Instagram stories that Masvidal showed on the phone, titled “Negotiate.”
Of course, agreeing to fight in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic is not that easy these days.
On Saturday, Masvidal passed and passed a coronavirus antibody test. This test shows whether a person has been exposed to COVID-19 in the past, but does not determine whether someone is currently suffering from the virus. If the fight is finally signed, it will have to pass at least three coronavirus tests before the fight night, as will all fighters competing in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates this month.
The UFC charter flight to Abu Dhabi left Friday evening, so the promotion must also find out how Masvidal and Usman, who did not fly after Burns left, can get into the UAE in time and with the ability to pass the government’s coronavirus test protocol .
Masvidal is considered one of the most popular fighters in the sport. Many believe he is the 2019 fighter after taking impressive wins over Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nathan Diaz.
If the two teams couldn’t agree, UFC 251 would continue with two title fights: Alexander Volkanovski versus Max Holloway 2 for the featherweight title and Petr Yan versus Jose Aldo for the bantamweight title.