For “Gamebred,” it would mean being paired up with one of the biggest stars in MMA history; for “The Notorious,” Masvidal sees it as a chance for him to quickly rehabilitate his image.
Over the past few years, McGregor has been involved in numerous outside-of-the-cage incidents that have threatened to overshadow his historic combat sports accomplishments. Though McGregor hasn’t won a fight since November 2016, he still holds the title of the first fighter to simultaneously hold two UFC belts, broke pay-per-view records by boxing Floyd Mayweather Jr., and is still one of MMA’s most talked-about fighters.
Masvidal has spoken about wanting to face McGregor before and he sees the fight as a distinct possibility given that McGregor is returning to the 170-pound division to fight Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 on Jan. 18. And once he’s through with McGregor, he thinks even fans who have turned on the former champion will see him in a different light.
“He gets melted,” Masvidal said during an appearance on The Jim Rome Show. “What the world is looking for him is for him to suffer and get chastised for some of the things that he’s done in public.
“Everybody’s going to feel sorry for him after the fight, I can tell you that much. They’ll forgive him all after the fight I can promise you that. This baptism’s gonna be a little extra for Mr. Conor.”
As the “BMF” titleholder, Masvidal finds himself in a unique position with more leverage than he’s ever had in his storied career. The 35-year-old had a banner year in 2019 coming off of back-to-back losses and not competing once in 2018. He knocked out Darren Till in England, Till’s home country, then took out Ben Askren with a flying knee in five seconds, and then beat Diaz at UFC 244.
He’s now ready to cash in, whether that means a match with McGregor, Mayweather, or reigning UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
“My journey has been going on 16 years and I want to be handsomely rewarded for it because for a big part of that 16 years there was a lot of instability and money wasn’t coming in, pay checks weren’t coming in,” Masvidal said. “I wouldn’t mind setting up that future for my grandkids. So the fights that you get the biggest zeroes attached to it, that’s the one that we’re going to take.
“Obviously, Conor fight is out there, the Mayweather fight is out there, they’re saying they’re bringing him on over to Zuffa Boxing. The Usman fight is out there. I’m the golden ticket at combat sports, especially at at 170 pounds. You can’t move in that weight class without mentioning me or having to ask permission to the mighty Gamebred. And it’s just the truth. I might come off ignorant and arrogant, but I’ve been working my whole life for this, to get to this position where now I can be involved in the biggest fights possible and I can rewrite the history books. Because whoever has the belt when I’m done with Conor, that’s whose head’s getting chopped off.
“And of course I’d like to fight Conor. Not just because he brings in a lot of cash and eyeballs to the sport, but he’s a two-time champion. He’s one of the few to do it and he did it in outstanding fashion. Both guys that he defeated for the belt, he did it with no pressure, no resistance, nothing. So it would be an honor to fight with him.”