UFC Abu Dhabi: Nigerian Nightmare’ vows no mercy on Masvidal
The Flash Forum will be without any spectators but Usman the 'Nigerian Nightmare' is looking forward to enjoying the silence in the arena
The UFC 251 — the Fight Island headline event in Abu Dhabi — promises to be a thrilling contest as Kamaru Usman, the welterweight champion, vows to teach a lesson to his flamboyant challenger and BMF belt holder, Jorge Masvidal.
The Flash Forum will be without any spectators, but Usman, the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’, is looking forward to enjoying that silence in the arena and hearing the sound of his punches and kicks on Masvidal.
Usman opened up on his preparations and plans for his toughest opponent.
“Masvidal is the biggest opponent I have faced to this day. I know he is tough and going to present a different challenge. I don’t dismiss his skills. But I am prepared. It’s my job. I’m the champion and am top of it. I am looking to dominate the fight from start to finish,” he said.
Both Usman and Masvidal, who shed 20 pounds in six days to be in the 170-pound limit, cleared the weigh-ins on Friday evening.
There has been a lot of trash talk in build-up to the fight. And now Usman prefers a 25-minute session to destroy Masvidal than a first-round knockout victory.
“My goal is to teach him a lesson. I rather beat a guy with such a wide margin that they never ever dream of competing with me again. But, of course, if I can knock him out in the first round, I’ll take it and go home. But I want to break him mentally. When you beat a guy from start to finish, the whole time, it breaks them internally and takes something away from them that they can never regain.”
Masvidal came into the picture only after Gilbert Burns tested Covid-19 positive. However, a change of opponent hasn’t affected Usman’s strategy.
“I have built myself by training for each and every different styles and opponents. So it didn’t really matter who the face is at the end of the day. I have put in the work and the only thing left to do is perform,” the 33-year-old said.
Meanwhile, the experienced Masvidal warned that a painful punishment awaits Usman inside the cage.
“It’s never personal, it’s always business. But Usman has crossed line that no other competitor that I’ve fought has. He’s talking about my ethnicity, whether I’m this or that. This guy’s just doing a lot of things that are going to get him hurt in a very violent way,” he said.
“It’s going to be a little special. I’m going to have to go into my fast-forward speed and truly send this guy to another plane.”
Masvidal, who will soon complete 17 years in the profession, claimed Usman was mentally weak.
“Usman is nowhere near as good as advertised. That’s why I’m here. I’m going to prove it. I think he’s mentally weak and I can’t blame the guy either. He’s got 17 personalities. He should have had them diagnosed. It’s just that his mental weakness is going to come out on Sunday. The world’s going to see it that I just took full advantage of this individual,” the 35-year-old American added.
The UFC 251 encounters will start at 2 am on Sunday and main card begins at 6 am local time.
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