At UFC 261, Jorge Masvidal will get a shot at redemption when he goes face-to-face with Kamaru Usman in a championship rematch main event. Are things going to be different for Gamebred this time? It isn't easy to predict.
But Masvidal has proven time and again that he's capable of making improvements. If he can adjust to Kamaru Usman's style, he might walk out of Jacksonville as the new king of the welterweights.
On that note, listed below are five reasons why Jorge Masvidal will resurrect his career at UFC 261.
#5 Jorge Masvidal will come prepared
Coming off three straight stoppage wins, white-hot Jorge Masvidal ran into a wall when he stepped in as a late replacement to fight Kamaru Usman last July. Subsequently, Masvidal's aspirations to ascend as the division's top guy were completely shot down.
The champion exposed Masvidal's lack of preparation when he easily imposed his superior grappling skills on the challenger. For the duration of five rounds, Kamaru Usman dictated where the fight took place, controlling Masvidal in the clinch to prevent him from finding his offensive rhythm.
This time, however, Jorge Masvidal has the benefit of having undergone a full training camp, something that wasn't available to him the first time he fought Kamaru Usman. Masvidal and his coaches will also have ample time to craft a gameplan for the defending champion.
If he really has what it takes to become the next UFC welterweight champion, he has to get it done come April 25th. There won't be any excuses this time around if he loses once again.
#4 Jorge Masvidal will use his superior striking
Colby Covington showed up against Kamaru Usman with a good game plan as he traded blows with the champion and won some of the exchanges. Ultimately, Kamaru Usman prevailed when he broke Covington's jaw and scored a TKO stoppage in the fifth round.
What Covington's efforts proved is that striking, along with respectable wrestling defense, is the key to beating Kamaru Usman. Masvidal has shown throughout his career that he is arguably the most elite striker in the 170-pound weight class.
In their first meeting, it can be learned that Usman definitely doesn't want any part of a slugfest with Masvidal. It's safe to assume that Usman will try to replicate his initial performance against Gamebred. Masvidal's ability to stay on his feet could be the deciding factor in the rematch.
#3 Jorge Masvidal has a massive chip on his shoulder
The biggest criticism of Jorge Masvidal is that he's a very good fighter who can't win on the highest stage. He can silence his doubters once and for all by capturing the title against a dominant champion like Kamaru Usman.
More than that, it's been a while since Masvidal delivered a highlight reel-worthy knockout. Masvidal's last KO highlight was his famous flying knee knockout of Ben Askren in 2019. Masvidal would certainly love to add another one to his resume.
#2 Jorge Masvidal will be revitalized by the crowd
For the first time in over a year, the UFC will be welcoming back a live crowd. As a return gift to the fans in attendance, the UFC booked a title fight rematch between dominant champ Kamaru Usman and fan-favorite Jorge Masvidal.
In their first meeting, Usman and Masvidal locked horns in an empty facility with only their cornermen, the commentators and the UFC officials as in-person witnesses. The sequel to their rivalry will be very different.
As UFC 261 is the first event with fans in a very long time, the Jacksonville crowd is expected to be extra rabid on the night. Surely, both men will feed off the energy of the live crowd. For a showman like Masvidal, the cheers of the viewing public could provide the boost that he needs to get over the hump.
#1 This is Jorge Masvidal's last chance to beat Usman
If Jorge Masvidal loses once again to Kamaru Usman, he might not get another shot at the title for a very long time. Suffering back-to-back losses would send Masvidal to the back of the line with contenders Colby Covington, Leon Edwards and Stephen 'Wonderboy' Thompson ahead of him.
On top of that, he might have to wait for Usman to be dethroned by another fighter before getting a third shot. Usually, going 2-0 against an opponent – especially a champion – indicates that you've lost the rivalry.
The possibility of not having another chance to become champion should be more than enough motivation for Jorge Masvidal. Ultimately, it's entirely up to Masvidal whether he will break under pressure or emerge as a champion.