Just minutes after he finished Colby Covington in the UFC 245 main event, the reigning welterweight champion was asked about potential contenders lining up for the next shot at his belt. When Masvidal’s name was mentioned, Usman answered back by saying “who?” and the UFC’s first ever “BMF” champion has gone on the offensive ever since.
Masvidal created a video that shows Usman acknowledging him in the past and now he’s started referring to him as the “owl” because of his answer during the post-fight press conference this past December.
Usman found the whole thing rather comical because he wasn’t trying to pretend he didn’t know Masvidal when his name was brought up. Instead, Usman says he just doesn’t see a title contender worthy of his attention when he looks at Masvidal’s entire resume.
“He’s misunderstanding me,” Usman explained when speaking to MMA Fighting. “He’s playing that angle that I’m saying I don’t know who he is. I know exactly who he is and I’ve given him props. That’s the one thing about me, I’m not a hater in any way, shape, form or fashion. I give respect where respect is due. Him fighting, yeah, I know him fighting but when they brought up you fight Jorge Masvidal next I’m like ‘who?’
“There are guys that are more deserving [of a title shot]. Jorge Masvidal doesn’t have a win over anyone in the top six. Does not have a win over anybody in the top six. I’ve beaten five of the top six guys in the division. That’s why I said that.”
To Masvidal’s credit, he did knock out former title contender Darren Till in his first fight in 2019 before the British slugger abandoned the division to pursue a career at middleweight instead. Masvidal followed up that victory with a five-second knockout over Ben Askren, who is now retired, and he capped off the year with a win over Nate Diaz.
While the UFC has him ranked in the top-10 at welterweight following a win over Anthony Pettis last year, Diaz is best known for his work at lightweight where he was a former title challenger.
As impressive as he looked in those three wins, Usman still doesn’t feel like Masvidal has put together an entire body of work to truly deserve a shot at the belt. He doesn’t have to look any further than Masvidal losing back-to-back performances against Demian Maia and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson to make an argument that a 3-2 record over five fights shouldn’t warrant title contention.
“He’s putting out that video saying I don’t know who he is. I absolutely know who he is. There’s just guys who are absolutely more deserving,” Usman said. “You’re telling me right now if Georges St-Pierre comes back, he’s not more deserving of that title shot than Jorge Masvidal? Absolutely he gets it.
“Of course I know who he is, but as far as him going out there with these antics like he’s more than deserving of a title shot, that he’s above a title shot. That’s why he’s talking about me and I don’t necessarily have to talk about him. People are asking me about the things he’s said.”
If the time comes to fight Masvidal because that’s what the UFC wants, Usman says he will gladly accept the opportunity because as champion he’s willing to face anybody coming for his title.
After tormenting top-10 opponents for the better part of two years just trying to work his way up the rankings, Usman is happy to finally be in the position where he’s no longer chasing anybody.
Now everyone else has to chase him.
“All of them, they’re playing in a sweepstakes to fight me. That’s all it is,” Usman said. “That’s a beautiful place to be because now I don’t have to go beg and call him out on Instagram or Twitter. All I have to do is stay put and the fights will come to me.”