After a blockbuster 2019, Jorge Masvidal looked set for a huge 2020.
A knockout win over Darren Till in London in March 2019 was followed by a five-second KO of undefeated Ben Askren in July. Those victories led to the UFC creating a new belt exclusively for his next fight, as Masvidal fought Nate Diaz in a real fight for the fans to decide who the Baddest Mother F*cker was in the company. ‘Gamebred’ stopped Diaz after the doctor stopped the fight between the third and fourth round to make it an perfect 3-0 for him for the year.
Dana White publicly stated that Masvidal was next up for Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and that the UFC would be looking to get that done at some point in 2020. However, with Covid-19 taking over the world in March and multiple disputes with the UFC, Masvidal was eventually overlooked for the title fight and it was given to Gilbert Burns.
That fight will happen next week at UFC 251 on Fight Island and Masvidal will be doing nothing but watching it on TV. So what next?
Gamebred has been very vocal online in a pay dispute with the organisation, teaming up with light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones in trying to get fighters better pay. While both have said they’re unlikely to fight again any time soon until this is resolved, Dana White doesn’t look like he’ll be budging any time soon. Speaking after UFC 250, White said:
“One of the beautiful things about this sport is you don’t have to fight. This isn’t the NBA or the NFL where you better be at practice, you better show up and do this. You don’t have to do anything here. And if these guys want to sit out and retire right now, or anybody feels uncomfortable in any way, shape, or form of what’s going on, you don’t have to fight. It is all good.
“Here’s the thing about Masvidal: We just signed a new deal with Masvidal. Masvidal just signed a new eight-fight deal – he’s got seven fights left on his deal. My people were working with him and trying to get a deal done with him when he already has a deal. Jon Jones has like seven fights left on his deal. He just signed a new deal less than a year ago.
“Guys, you can say whatever you want, but I have a deal. We just did a deal with both guys. This isn’t one of those scenarios where they’ve got some three-year-old deal and it’s like, ‘Oh man, that was three years ago. I’m in a much different place.’ This was months ago.“
The UFC are contractually obligated to offer every fighter on the roster a minimum of three fights per year, something White said he will continue to do. So who else could be on the table for Masvidal?
The obvious option, of course, is the winner of Usman vs Burns. ‘Gamebred’ is still a huge PPV draw for the company and a title fight has been earned at this point. Should Usman beat his team-mate on Fight Island, we could revisit the previous option of a title fight between the two. The issue would obviously be around when that could happen, but it’s certainly a viable option. Should Burns win, he’ll need someone to defend against too and who better than Masvidal. Burns isn’t the biggest name in the company and if he is champ, would need a big name defence to get eyes on him.
Another option is former team-mate and friend Colby Covington. The two previously trained together at American Top Team and even lived together while Colby was coming up. Their friendship turned sour though when Covington took on his new persona and began talking down on the gym. When he lost his title fight to Usman, Masvidal and co. celebrated their team-mates defeat and he eventually left the gym to train elsewhere. They’ve gone back and forth over social media and in interviews for a while now and have both spoken about a potential fight. It’s a fight fans would absolutely love to see, especially considering the history behind it. Masvidal is known as the ‘Street Jesus’ due to his come up in street and back-yard fighting and we all know how disrespect is dealt with in the streets. This would be another chance for Masvidal to ‘baptise a fool’.
The biggest option for Masvidal, would arguably be a fight most people think they know the result of without a punch being thrown. Following his return to the Octagon in January, Conor McGregor made it abundantly clear that Masvidal’s BMF title was on his radar and it was confirmed by Dana White that ‘The Notorious’ one had shown interest in fighting Masvidal. While many believe that Masvidal is too big for McGregor as a natural 170lbs-er, the press conferences alone would be enough to sell this fight to the masses. ‘Gamebred’ has already made it known that he would be open to fighting Conor and with the Irishman recently retiring again due to ‘no excitement’ in the company, this is a fight that could surely tempt him back into the Octagon.
Regardless of what is to come next for Jorge, we can’t wait to see him back in the Octagon because the sport isn’t the same without an active ‘Gamebred’ at the forefront of it.