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Dustin Poirier is confident that Jorge Masvidal is ready to take on Kamaru Usman at UFC 251.
Masvidal (35-13 MMA, 12-6 UFC) has agreed to take on welterweight champion Usman this Saturday in the main event on just six days' notice. Usman originally was scheduled to face Gilbert Burns, but he was scrapped after testing postive for COVID-19. After the test results, the UFC called on the original No. 1 contender, Masvidal.
Poirier trains at American Top Team with Masvidal, and says Masvidal has been at the gym the entire time and helped him prepare for his fight against Dan Hooker. Poirier won his fight 11 days ago at UFC on ESPN 12. Poirier also says that Masvidal has been training with high-level wrestlers such as three-time NCAA Division I champion Bo Nickal.
Despite the challenge of taking on the champion with just six days' notice, Poirier is confident he’ll be ready.
“It’s a short notice, because he didn’t have the contract signed, but let me tell you what: This guy was there my whole training camp,” Poirier said on “THE FIGHT with Teddy Atlas.” “He was my main sparring partner. We probably put in five weeks of sparring together. He flew in wrestlers, the best wrestlers in the world.”
Masvidal was passed up for Burns after pay negotiations fell through. But Poirier says Masvidal continued to train until the UFC eventually circled back and the two sides were able to reach an agreement.
“The guy never stopped training,” Poirier said. “Even when the fight fell through, and they gave it to Burns, it was at the end of training camp, Jorge was still in the gym every day like he had a fight. I don’t know if he knew something that we didn’t, but the guy was in training camp the whole time and never stopped.
“I think he’s gonna surprise a lot of people with the kind of shape he’s in. His timing is gonna be good. He was in my camp the whole time helping a few guys, not just me. He’s in fight shape, I know that much. This isn’t a guy coming off the couch. This is a guy who’s been preparing to fight Usman, and the fight fell through, and he kept training.”
UFC 251 takes place Saturday (Sunday locally) at “UFC Fight Island” on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. The card airs on ESPN+ pay per view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+.
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