At UFC 261, welterweight champion Kamaru Usman will defend his title in a rematch against 'BMF' champion, Jorge Masvidal. It has been well documented that the first time they met at UFC 251 last summer, they both had six days' notice to prepare for each other. While Usman controlled the fight and picked up a unanimous decision victory, he didn't get the finish he was looking for.
Coming into the weekend, Usman has been very vocal about wanting to put away Masvidal for good, and the UFC even branded a promo video for them focusing on "no excuses" in the rematch. With many layers surrounding this matchup, here are four opinion bombs for UFC 261's main event.
A trilogy should happen before a new opponent
If Jorge Masvidal does what he expects to do, and becomes the new welterweight champion with a victory over Usman this weekend, the UFC should immediately look to book the trilogy between them. There's been talk from UFC President Dana White who said that former interim welterweight champion Colby Covington would be next, the brakes should be hit until the fight plays out.
There's been plenty of talk about how great Usman's resume and career have been so far, and with that should come respect if the title were to change hands. In title circumstances like this one, two big-time superstars, a decorated champion, and a rivalry that doesn't seem to be going away any time soon, if Masvidal pulls off the win, the only logical decision would be to run it back a third time. If the marketing campaign around this rematch is "no excuses" then there should also be no excuses for them to move forward with the trilogy.
Nate Diaz and Leon Edwards might disrupt title picture
A trilogy? Colby Covington? Maybe, not so fast. Next month's UFC 262 co-main event will feature a non-title five-round fight between Nate Diaz and Leon Edwards, so first and foremost, why five rounds? Any fight with Diaz is going to sell and both he and Edwards are durable fighters who can go the distance to put on an entertaining fight, but what if there's a bigger test that's not being talked about?
There's no denying the fact that Edwards' recent eight-fight winning streak has placed him fully in the title picture, defeating one of the sport's biggest superstars in Diaz, would cement his place as a top contender. The last loss Edwards suffered was against the current champion and he's been very vocal about wanting to run it back.
Nate Diaz marches to the beat of his own drum and he's never one to cave in to what the UFC is hoping for. If Diaz were to go and finish Edwards, the ball would be in his court as to whether or not he wanted to compete for a title, but the option should be there give the opponent he is facing, whether Edwards is popular among casual fans or not.
Time might be coming up for Kamaru Usman
In an interview with MMA Fighting, Usman opened up an entirely new conversation: retirement or new opportunities. Pointing out the fact that he's at the point in his career and title reign where a lot of his title defenses are coming in rematches. Masvidal, Covington, possibly even Edwards, are all rematches for the champion, and it's obvious that there is not much left to challenge him.
If Usman were to defeat Masvidal, there's a question as to how much longer he'll want to keep going down the path of rematches. Retirement or moving on to new opportunities could entice Usman to walk away.
The 'BMF' title should return if Masvidal becomes champion
At UFC 244, the UFC brought out The Rock, a $50,000 'BMF' belt, and plenty of fanfare and celebrity attention to the first-ever 'BMF' title fight between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz. While Masvidal won the fight due to doctor stoppage, there has been no other 'BMF' title since then.
The title wasn't up for grabs in their first fight, but if the first-ever champion of the belt were to become the undisputed UFC welterweight champion, the UFC should bring back this fun, fan-attraction title and open it up for a new challenge. If Masvidal were to claim gold at UFC 261, there would be no need for him to keep holding onto the 'BMF' belt, and he could let others fight out for the belt that he helped created.
The UFC 261 main event has plenty of reasons for fans to tune in, but with plenty of uncertainty surrounding the future of the champion, top contenders, and welterweight title picture, things could get very interesting no matter who comes out victorious.