UFC lightweight contender Dustin Poirier says that Jorge Masvidal was in the gym training every day just in case the Kamaru Usman fight became available.
Masvidal was set to fight Usman for the UFC welterweight championship in the main event of UFC 251 but the promotion had difficulties coming together on the financials and eventually gave the title shot to Gilbert Burns. But after Burns tested positive for COVID-19, the UFC and Masvidal made a last-minute move to strike a deal, and the UFC now has a megafight between Usman and Masvidal headlining this weekend’s pay-per-view event.
Although Masvidal is one of the most popular fighters in the welterweight division, the oddsmakers and not high on him in this matchup as he opened as a big underdog. One of the reasons that’s the case is because of the short notice factor going against Masvidal. As good of a fighter as he is, it’s rare for someone to come in on short notice and dethrone a dominant champion like Usman, leading to Masvidal being the underdog for this fight.
However, while some think that Masvidal may not have been training for this fight, that’s simply not the case. According to Poirier, who is Masvidal’s training partner at American Top Team, “Gamebred” had a feeling this whole time that he might have to step in on short notice and was still training for Usman this whole time. Check out what Poirier said on the Teddy Atlas podcast about Masvidal’s training camp.
“It’s a short notice (fight) because he didn’t have the contract signed. But let me tell you what. This guy was there my whole training camp (for Dan Hooker), he was my main sparring partner. We probably put in five weeks of sparring together. He flew in wrestlers, the best wrestlers in the world, I think they put them up just for Masvidal to use. Even when the fight fell through and they gave it to Burns, I think it was at the end of my training camp, Jorge was still in the gym every day like he had a fight,” Poirier said.
“I don’t know if he knew something we didn’t, but the guy was in training camp the whole time and never stopped. I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people with the shape he’s in, his timing’s going to be good because he was in my camp the whole time. Helping a few guys, not just me. He’s in fight shape, I know that much. This isn’t a guy who’s coming off the couch. This is a guy who was preparing to fight Usman and the fight fell through and he kept training,” Poirier concluded.