Jorge Masvidal is always keeping a close eye on potential opponents, but when it comes to the upcoming title fight between UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington, he doesn’t see much that impresses him.
Following three knockout/TKO wins in 2019, Masvidal might be the hottest commodity in mixed martial arts right now, and he’s arguably the next in line for a shot at the title.
A fight against Usman or Covington could easily become one of the biggest fights of 2020, but the new “BMF” champion isn’t too worried about either matchup right now.
A showdown with Covington might mean more to him considering they were once friends and training partners but that relationship has since dissolved and transformed into one of the most heated rivalries in the sport.
Masvidal previously recounted how his attitude towards Covington changed after he claims the former interim champion stiffed his boxing coach Paulino Hernandez on a payment following his win over Rafael dos Anjos in 2018.
While Covington has adamantly denied that he failed to pay anybody from his training camp, Masvidal continues to press that button as the reason why he’s no longer close with his fellow American Top Team fighter.
“My initial reaction [after he didn’t pay him] was I’m going to f*ck this guy up cause I’m the one who brought him to my trainer and you do this, you make me look like sh*t cause you’re being a piece of sh*t. My coach said ‘God has bigger plans, we’ll get him in the ring and you can embarrass him there,’ and I said OK,” Masvidal explained when speaking to Yahoo Sports. “So since that day, we stopped talking but I didn’t want to take it to the media or nothing. I wasn’t going to take it to the media or nothing but he started opening his mouth and just being the person that he is.
“He can’t generate attention by himself so he has to mention your name, this guy’s name, that guy’s name, ‘all these guys are on steroids,’ there’s no proof, no validation to what he’s saying. That’s just the type of person he is so once he opened his mouth, I’m not going to keep mine shut.”
For all the disdain that gets thrown Covington’s way for the controversial manner he chooses to promote his fights, the former NCAA All-American wrestler has become an elite fighter and one of the best welterweights in the sport.
That’s not an argument Masvidal would make, however, even in the aftermath of Covington’s lopsided win over former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler back in August.
“In some aspects, yeah, he threw 500 punches but he never hurt Robbie once. If you’re just doing this cause you got the guy tired from wrestling, I don’t give it credit,” Masvidal said. “Like they always say, it’s so cliché but there’s levels to this. There’s a reason why Colby wouldn’t want the fight. If he could pick guys, he wouldn’t want the fight. There’s a reason why he’s saying we weren’t talking for a year and a half ‘he’s my best friend,’ he was just saying that four weeks ago, five weeks ago that I was his best friend and now all of a sudden I’m his mortal enemy?
“The guy has his wires crossed, especially when it comes to me. He got to train with me a little bit so you can imagine the trauma I put him through.”
As far as Usman goes, Masvidal doesn’t think much about him either even after witnessing him dominate former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley earlier this year.
Masvidal has been critical of Usman’s performances, particularly because he likes to use a suffocating wrestling attack to stifle his opponents’ offense.
“Not at all,” Masvidal answered when asked if he’s been impressed by Usman. “I think there’s some things he does well, which is kind of stall. He just gets to a leg and takes guys down. I’m a fan of grappling but I like to see grappling offensively.
“He can’t kick nothing. It’s like me saying there’s a MMA guy that’s a great, great boxer technique-wise, nah, it’s like he’s a great boxer for MMA. Maybe Usman’s a good kicker for YMCA, the public club, but he’s not kicking me. The guy would never land a kick on me.”
Because he’s positioned himself as one of the most talked about fighters in all of mixed martial arts, Masvidal knows he doesn’t need the welterweight title to promote himself when he returns to action and that’s why Usman and Covington just aren’t keeping his attention right now.
“I got into this sport to separate myself from the pack and beat the crap out of guys. Those guys don’t do it,” Masvidal said. “What I did this year, I got three stoppages. They haven’t done that their whole career.
“This is math speaking, this is not opinion. You can look it up. What I’ve done this year, they haven’t done their whole careers.”