He might not like Colby Covington, but even Ben Askren can admit the former deserved a title shot over Jorge Masvidal.
It was announced earlier this month that Masvidal would challenge Kamaru Usman for the welterweight title in a rematch that would headline UFC 261 which takes place April 24.
That’s despite Masvidal’s last fight being a defeat to Usman in their short-notice title fight at UFC 251 in July last year.
For some, the narrative is that Masvidal would perform much better with a full camp. For many others, they believe the end result will be the same and that “Gamebred” didn’t deserve a second consecutive title shot.
Askren is in the latter camp.
“So I didn’t like that booking actually,” Askren told Helen Yee in a recent interview. “I said this also, and I got a lot of pushback, and I was really surprised — to me, or to the scorecards, that was a 50-43 fight. Jorge won no rounds, he won zero, and he lost 10-8 in two of them, and you had Colby vs. Usman, which was 2-2 going into the fifth round. Colby ended up getting knocked out but it was really competitive. Colby has won a fight since then. Jorge has not.
“Obviously, there could be some stuff behind the scenes that I’m not seeing because that’s not my job that is preventing Colby from getting another shot. Nobody likes Colby. Like, no fans are like, ‘oh sh*t, we want Colby to get the shot’ because nobody actually likes him. But even me, who doesn’t like him, thinks like — that probably would have made a lot more sense.”
Masvidal Star Power Gives Him The Edge
In the end, Masvidal’s newfound star power along with Usman specifically calling him out following UFC 258 last month is what led to the fight being booked a second time.
And if Masvidal is able to come out on top, he’ll be shutting up plenty of his critics in the process while achieving a lifelong dream by becoming UFC champion.