Sources: UFC in negotiations for Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251

A day after Gilbert Burns was forced out of the UFC 251 main event, there is renewed hope that next week’s welterweight title fight can be salvaged with an even bigger fight.

According to multiple sources, negotiations are underway to reserve Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal as the new UFC 251 main event on July 11.

Sources say the talks are not yet nearing completion, but they are ongoing and both sides believe there is a way for this fight to happen.

This is significant because the UFC and Masvidal have been widely separated in the contract talks for this fight for the past two months. In the end, the UFC decided to walk away from the negotiations about a month ago and gave the title fight to Burns, who recently beat former champion Tyron Woodley.

Subsequently, Masvidal posted a series of tweets criticizing the UFC for its business practices, questioning whether the relationship would break for some time.

But once Burns was ousted from the card on Friday night, momentum began to develop for the original plan, which is a coincidence of rancor that has been brewing for months. Both Usman and Masvidal were embroiled in a heated fight that saw the duo enter a shouting match at the Super Bowl in Miami earlier this year.

On Saturday afternoon, Usman tweeted, “It may be time for the pig to squeal,” while Masvidal’s co-director posted a series of Instagram stories showing Masvidal on the phone with the caption “negotiating.”

Of course, these days it’s not as simple as just accepting a fight.

On Saturday, Masvidal took and passed an antibody test against the coronavirus. That test shows whether an individual has been exposed to the coronavirus in the past, but it does not determine whether someone currently has the virus. If the fight is finally signed, he will have to pass at least three coronavirus tests before the night of the fight, just like all the fighters competing in Abu Dhabi this month.

Additionally, the UFC’s charter flight to Abu Dhabi departed on Friday night, so the promotion will also have to figure out how to get Masvidal and Usman, who did not fly once Burns retired, to the UAE in time. for the event and with the ability to pass the government’s coronavirus testing protocol.

Masvidal is considered one of the most popular fighters in the sport, and many believe he was the 2019 fighter of the year after taking impressive victories over Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nathan Díaz.

If the two sides cannot reach an agreement, UFC 251 would proceed with two title fights: Alexander Volkanovski against Max Holloway 2 for the featherweight title and Petr Yan against Jose Aldo for the bantamweight title.