Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 September 2020


Jorge Masvidal set to defend 'BMF' belt against Nate Diaz, says UFC president

Dana White predicts renewed rivalry in December or January

Jorge Masvidal will most likely defend the “BMF” belt in a rematch against Nate Diaz slated for December or January, according to UFC president Dana White.

Speaking early on Wednesday immediately following his latest Contender Series event, White confirmed earlier reports that the fighters, two of the most popular athletes in the promotion, were likely to rekindle their rivalry.

Masvidal defeated Diaz last November to land the specifically created “BMF” crown, prevailing by TKO at the end of the third round. Now it seems the pair are going to run it back, in what would no doubt be a hugely popular event.

“[Masvidal] wants to defend it against Diaz,” White said in his post-show press conference. “They were the first two to fight for it. You know what I mean? They were the guys that fought for it. He wants to put it up versus Nate again.”

White had previously rejected calls to bring back the “BMF” belt, claiming it was a one-time offering. The initial clash took place at UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden in New York, when doctors deemed a cut on Diaz’s face to be too severe to continue. The American wasn’t allowed to come out for the fourth round – a call that proved extremely contentious - and has not fought since.

Masvidal (35-14 MMA), last competed in July at UFC 251, the headline bout at the inaugural Fight Island in Abu Dhabi. Taking the fight on six days’ notice, he was comprehensively defeated on points by welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.

Masvidal v Usman, Fight Island, Abu Dhabi

Although he has publicly sought a rematch with Usman, Masvidal appears set to next go up against Diaz (20-12 MMA) again.

Meanwhile, Usman is tipped to finally face Gilbert Burns this December, at an event expected to be entitled UFC 256. Burns was scheduled to contest his first title shot at UFC 251, but had to withdraw from the Abu Dhabi bout after testing positive for Covid-19 days before leaving for the UAE.

The Brazilian, the division’s No 1-ranked contender, has been promised a shot at the belt, although he tweeted on Wednesday that he didn’t know anything about the December date. Burns currently enjoys a six-fight win streak.

Updated: September 2, 2020 12:56 PM

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