In March, Colby Covington suggested that Jorge Masvidal was going to price himself out of a title fight, and it’s starting to look like Covington may be right after all.
The welterweight title picture in the UFC has been in a state of limbo for the last several months. It was thought that Masvidal was next in line for a title shot against champion Kamaru Usman, but a fight has yet to be announced. In the meantime, welterweight contenders have been piling up, with Gilbert Burns moving to No. 1 in the UFC rankings, following a dominant showing against Tyron Woodley this past weekend at UFC on ESPN 9. And following that performance, UFC President Dana White believes he may have found the next title challenger.
“You got Colby Covington, you got Jorge Masvidal, you got Leon Edwards and now, obviously you have Gilbert Burns,” White told Steve-O’s Wild Ride podcast recently. “All of those guys, the reality is, we’re going to reach out tomorrow and we’re gonna say: ‘Who wants the next fight? Who wants this fight? Who is ready to go? Who wants to fight Usman?’ If it’s Masvidal, Edwards or Burns.
“Burns told me that night, ‘Let’s turn this sh*t right round, I’ll fight Usman now. I’m ready.’ I love that kind of sh*t. When you’re that guy, it’s highly likely you’re getting that f*cking fight.”
Following his performance at UFC on ESPN 9, Burns immediately made it known he was interested in fighting Usman, despite the two training together. He also said that he was completely healthy and ready for a quick turnaround. Conversely, Masvidal has also made it known he’d like to fight Usman, but has shown a willingness to forego a title shot for a bout with Conor McGregor. Furthermore, Masvidal recently Tweeted his frustration with the difficulty in getting a deal done.
All of this suggests that Masvidal may indeed be getting passed over for a title shot for ease of the promotion. That being said, it’s not all bad news for Masvidal. He’s not out of the running yet, and as Dana White pointed out, even if a title shot does not come, there are other options for “Gamebred.”
“There’s nothing bigger than a title fight,” White said. “But Masvidal has options. Masvidal’s in a place where he has some fun options.”
Aside from a potential bout with McGregor, Masvidal also has an imminently marketable grudge match against his former teammate, friend, and roommate Colby Covington that could make sense.
And while things may be less than ideal for Masvidal, Gilbert Burns now appears to be in the driver’s seat for the next 170-pound title shot. Not bad for a guy who only returned to the division last August.