Jorge Masvidal isn’t going to fight for free, but avenging a loss and becoming UFC champion is more important to him than making a bigger paycheck right now.
The fight came together on just six days’ notice after Gilbert Burns was forced off the card due to a positive test for COVID-19. Masvidal stepped up and got a deal done with the UFC, but ultimately came up short on fight night.
Now he would love nothing more than to have a full training camp and immediate rematch with Usman.
“Usman obviously, it’s a no-brainer,” Masvidal told ESPN when asked what he ideally wants next. “Usman. Could they offer me bigger names and pay me more money? Yes. For a fact. But if it’s up to me, Usman. For me stepping up on six days’ notice when nobody else would. Cause a lot of people are saying they would, but who else did it? Who else really actually asked [UFC President] Dana [White]? Who else was actually like, ‘Hey, if Masvidal doesn’t do it, I will do it, I’m right here, I’m ready to go, let’s do it.’
“If it’s up to me, of course, Usman right away. I don’t care if they could offer me a bigger fight or not. I would like to fight Usman.”
The bigger fight for Masvidal would be a showdown with former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor, who technically retired for the third time in June.
Despite declaring his intention to retire, McGregor has made that promise before. For one reason or another, he returned to the octagon. A fight against Masvidal could serve as the exact kind of motivation to lure him back to the UFC.
For his part, Masvidal appreciates the extra zeroes that would get added to his bank account for a McGregor fight. But if given a choice, he would take the Usman rematch without hesitation.
“You could tell me that McGregor right now would make X, Y, Z dollars, the biggest pay-per-view event in history right, and I’m going to get paid forever,” Masvidal explained. “I feel like I got compensated well enough now, that I keep making the right decisions that I’ve been doing, then this money is forever money. So it’s not about money. It’s about I want that damn belt and I’m stubborn. I know I’m better than Usman and I want to prove it. I want to fight again. I’m not going to take nothing from him. He won the first one. Let’s do it again. That’s it.
“After that, then we can start with whatever comes next after that, but Usman’s the thing that I want the most. The immediate rematch is Usman for me now.”
UFC 251 reportedly sold around 1.3 million buys, and Masvidal confirmed his salary from the fight will be the most lucrative of his career.
He knows Usman also benefitted from the pay-per-view sales, which adds more fuel to the fire for a potential rematch.
“I’m sure Usman would be on board, because this was the most money he’s made,” Masvidal said. “His other pay-per-view [against Colby Covington], and this is just talking numbers, facts, so this is not taking a shot at him or nothing, but this is actually truth. His actual last UFC [pay-per-view] had similar guys on the card — Max Holloway, Volkanovski, things like that — same similar formula. I wasn’t added to that formula, and that card didn’t do that well. I think that card did under 300,000 [buys], something like that.
“Now this card does this well, I’m not trying to knock nobody on the card or nothing. But there has to be some recipe that was different from that other card. He has a brain, he knows probably some of that credit is due to me. So if he wants to make that big boy money again, come on, we got to run it back. Let’s go. So in business it makes sense.”
After returning home from Abu Dhabi on Monday, Masvidal said he was already riding his bike and working out at the gym to burn off some of the frustration from his loss this past weekend.
When it comes to the timing for his next fight, Masvidal wasn’t ready to commit to anything just yet, but he added “as long as it’s Usman,” he would absolutely compete again in 2020.