According to UFC president Dana White, the promotion is working toward booking the highly anticipated welterweight title fight for International Fight Week 2020 in Las Vegas.
While that card doesn’t have an official title yet, it’s likely be UFC 252 with Usman putting his welterweight belt on the line against the “BMF” champion.
“We’re going to bring them to Vegas,” White said during an interview with Jim Rome on Friday. “Him and Usman will fight in Vegas probably International Fight Week. If [Masvidal] wins, maybe we’ll do his first title defense down here in Miami.”
“That was always the plan, and then whatever happened with them a couple of days ago, whenever that was. We hadn’t announced it yet, but now, this has forced me to announce it.”
The altercation that White mentioned was a shouting match that took place during Super Bowl media day earlier this week. Usman and Masvidal had to be separated by security as the two fighters jawed back and forth. UFC personnel de-escalated the situation before it turned physical.
It seemed likely at that point the volatile encounter would all but cement the fight between Usman and Masvidal, and now it appears the UFC is moving in that direction.
Usman is currently nursing an injured left hand suffered in his fifth-round TKO win over Colby Covington. But his manager Ali Abdelaziz told MMA Fighting that he would be cleared to compete as early as March or April.
As for Masvidal, he’s currently riding a three-fight win streak with knockout victories over Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz. It looks like he will now get his first crack at UFC gold after first joining the promotion in 2013.
While nothing is signed just yet, the UFC is seizing on the momentum and seeking to book Usman against Masvidal during one of the biggest fight cards of the year in July.