UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and title challenger Jorge Masvidal turned up the heat at the press conference ahead of their UFC title rematch at UFC 261.
Egged on by a vociferous crowd in Jacksonville, Florida, Usman and Masvidal traded barbs in a lively pre-fight presser as they faced questions from the media, then faced off for the cameras ahead of their eagerly anticipated clash on Saturday night.
The Jacksonville crowd were heavily in Masvidal’s corner during the pre-fight press conference, with “Gamebred” explaining that his fighting style was the reason for his passionate fanbase in his home state and beyond.
“You can hear it yourself, you can see it yourself. These guys want violence,” he grinned.
“Let me tell you, these guys don’t cheer for me because I’m so good-looking or the food that I eat or nothing. That’s not why they cheer for me.
“They cheer for me because I give everybody (value for) their hard-earned money. I come in here to perform and bring the violence that they crave. That’s the only reason why I got all these fans behind me.”
Usman chipped in and pointed out, “But the fans can’t fight for you.”
But Masvidal fired back instantly as tensions rose on stage.
“I’m gonna whoop your ass all by myself, I don’t need anybody,” he said.
“You said that last time. What happened?” Usman retorted, before mocking Masvidal’s record and vowing to defeat him for a second time in their rematch.
“Let’s just be honest here. You got 14 losses in your career, seven in the UFC. You’re 3-3 in your last six,” he stated.
“You are sitting there today because I chose you. I’m coming around the track and you are the first guy I’m about to lap.”
While Usman and Masvidal traded barbs on stage, UFC president Dana White was all smiles as he savoured the press conference atmosphere with fans in attendance, and stated how much Saturday night’s event in front of a full house means to him.
“There’s been a lot of monumental moments in my career, and this is one of them,” he explained.
“Saturday night’s a big night. Not only for all of the fighters up here and for the UFC and the sport, but I think for sports in general.
“We showed in the beginning of the pandemic that this can be done safely, and it can be done the right way.
“Now we’re showing that you can do it in closed venues, and it can be done safe. So it’s a big night on Saturday.”