If the UFC needs a big name to step in and fight at UFC 249 on April 18, the promotion doesn’t need to look any further than welterweight star Jorge Masvidal.
Speaking on Twitter early on Monday morning, Masvidal boldly proclaimed he’s free to fight on the upcoming fight card.
April 18 I’m free #theresurrection
— Jorge Masvidal UFC (@GamebredFighter) March 30, 2020
“April 18 I’m free,” Masvidal wrote.
The timing of this Tweet from Masvidal is impossible to ignore. Several hours prior to his comment, UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov announced that he’s stranded in his native Russia due to the country’s new travel restrictions, adding that the UFC will likely try to find a new opponent for his planned challenger Tony Ferguson.
“Currently, I am in Dagestan and I am training and preparing every day,” Nurmagomedov said on Instagram Live. “Although I don’t know what am I preparing for because after we came to Russia we also learned that the borders are going to be locked. Same as in the States, the same as in Europe, Emirates, everywhere. The whole world is in quarantine right now.
“So now I am hearing that they are looking to organize it with or without me,” Nurmagomedov continued. “OK, go ahead. Everyone should follow the laws. I am not against it, I know that fighters need to feed their families and pay their bills. I know how hard it is for the fighter. Unless they fight they aren’t getting any money. I am even hearing that they are looking for an opponent for Tony because he is in the States and I am here in Russia.”
While Masvidal is currently a welterweight and Ferguson is currently a lightweight, both men have competed in the other’s division extensively in the past. It’s conceivable that Ferguson could move back up to welterweight to fight Masvidal at UFC 249, or Masvidal could drop back down to lightweight to fight Ferguson.
Of course, the UFC could also find another opponent for Masvidal on short-notice and book Ferguson against somebody else.
Whatever the case, the promotion is probably relieved to learn that one of the biggest stars on its roster is willing to step in and fight on the card if need be.
Do you want to see Jorge Masvidal fight at UFC 249?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 3/30/2020.