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After a blockbuster 2019 which included three consecutive stoppage wins – and the inauguration of a new championship – the year ahead, and the promotion, is Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal’s oyster.
Victories over Darren Till, Ben Askren, and Nate Diaz, has seen the Miami native leap into title contention in a stacked welterweight division, taking the #3 rank. After UFC 246 – Masvidal is left with two very appealing and compelling options. The American Top Team trainee can go and secure the most lucrative payday of his sixteen-year career if he clashes with Conor McGregor – or he can finally secure his first UFC championship tilt in a heated affair with undisputed champion, Kamaru Usman. The latter; an option Masvidal is currently leaning toward.
Appearing on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, the 35-year-old questioned if former two-weight world champion, Conor McGregor, actually wanted to fight in the future – after First Round Management operator, Abraham Kawa suggested an interim welterweight title bout between his client and McGregor. If the Dubliner switches his intentions to lightweight excursions, Masvidal will take pleasure in a pairing with ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’, Usman.
“I make a considerably larger paycheck with Conor (McGregor) but if it’s on a personal side, if it’s all potatoes and tomatoes being the same, I would take a lot of pleasure in dismantling (Kamaru) Usman’s face than I would Conor’s,” Masvidal said when questioned by Helwani. “I would have a sincere joy inside of me like a kid on Christmas opening numerous gifts if Usman was the dude I got to baptize. There is something about his face. I don’t like it, it doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t like his attitude either. These little comments of ‘who’? I have been doing this for sixteen f**king years. I’m the fighter of the year, and I’m at your f**king weight class and you’re going to be as corny and a petty-ass troll and say ‘who’?”
With former welterweight titleholder, Tyron Woodley returning to action for the first time since his title defeat to Usman last year when he takes on surging contender Leon Edwards in the headliner of UFC Fight Night London in March – Masvidal doesn’t understand why Usman is so eager to run things back with former-opponent, Edwards. Both Usman and Masvidal have history with Edwards, with Usman handing the Birmingham based striker his last Octagon defeat back in 2015, while Masvidal was involved in a physical altercation with the 28-year-old at UFC Fight Night London last March – in an incident which birthed Masvidal’s infamous “three-piece and a soda” catchphrase.
“The dude (Kamaru Usman) ain’t got no personality. He has seventeen different f**king personalities but not one of them is made for TV. So, I want to f**k his ass up. There’s a ranking system and I’m ranked in the system. He wants to fight the guy whos ranked below me that he already beat. He says that’s the tougher fight. He sounds like one hell of a politician to me, and I don’t like politicians. Usman, you punk motherf**ker. Look me in my eyes Usman when you see this interview and know that nothing but the truth comes from me. You’re f**king dead.”
Masvidal doesn’t expect a return to action until after March or April at the earliest, and potential opponent Usman is currently nursing a thumb injury stemming from his UFC 245 knockout win over Colby Covington in December. The Division II wrestler attended UFC 246 last weekend along with manager, Ali Abdelaziz, with a cast on his left hand. At this time the extent of Usman’s injury is unknown – as is the timeline for an expected return.
Senior writer for FightBook MMA. An aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Producer of news articles, interviews, opinion features, and exclusive features such as, ‘The Fallout’, ‘The Breakdown, and, ‘This Week In MMA’.
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