In the latest war of words between champion and potential challenger, Usman scoffed at the notion that he would want the “baddest motherf*cker” belt that Masvidal captured this past November with a TKO win over Nate Diaz.
“I’m not interested in the “best mediocre fighter” title. I’m not interested in that,” Usman said when asked about Masvidal’s “BMF” belt at the UFC 246 media day. “When I got into sports, I always shot for the best and the last time I checked the price on silver wasn’t continuously going up. The prices on gold is going up.
“I always wanted the gold, not silver. I got the gold. That’s all that matters to me.”
In Usman’s eyes, he believes the most deserving contender should get the next shot at the title and he’s not so sure Masvidal’s recent resume warrants that opportunity.
“This is a game where you kind of need to fight the contenders that are there,” Usman explained. “If this is just an average guy that’s looking into the sport of [mixed] martial arts and they’re like ‘oh the welterweight champion’s going to fight somebody, who is that contender?’ And they look through the rankings and they want to know who the next best guy is and if you look in that top 10, I’ve beat half of them.
“I’ve gone through half of them and the top half of them. Who in that top 10 has this guy beat?”
Based on the current UFC rankings, Masvidal only holds a win over a single top 15 opponent in Diaz but that doesn’t tell the entire story.
Masvidal knocked out former title contender Darren Till last year before he decided to leave the welterweight division and move to 185 pounds.
He also blasted Ben Askren with a flying knee to earn the fastest knockout in UFC history while handing the former Olympian his first professional loss.
That said, Usman still seems to look at Masvidal as more hype than reality when it comes to his standing as a legitimate threat to the welterweight title.
“To me is this being a contender or is this the hype? There’s two different things,” Usman said. “Of course when there’s a lot of hype, people want to see the fight. Of course, they’ll make the fight happen. When it’s a true contender that has been running through the division, beaten all the worthy guys to get there.
“Of course, I’ll be happy to take on that because I know that’s the next, toughest, best challenge. That’s all that is.”
At the end of the day — worthy or not — Usman promises if the UFC comes calling with Masvidal as his next opponent, then that’s who he’ll face with the welterweight title up for grabs.
“Like I said, I’m the champion. If Dana [White] calls and says that’s the fight then guess what? That’s the fight,” Usman said. “I just ask when. I’ll let my managers go in and have that meeting and we decide when and where.”