MEXICO CITY — Jorge Masvidal speaks to the media at UFC Mexico City about his upcoming welterweight bout against Nate Diaz at UFC 244, failed negotiations with champion Kamaru Usman, the state of his relationship with Colby Covington, the support he’s received from the Latin American audience, and more.
The majority of the media scrum was done in Spanish. There are subtitles on the video, but you can also find transcription below translated from Spanish to English:
Reporter: What are your thoughts on a build-up where you don’t have to talk much?
Masvidal: Oh, it’s the best. I don’t have a problem talking. I can talk, I can express myself. But many times when people are talking just to talk, to say negative things, I don’t like it because this is not a negative sport. This is a sport of a lot of knowledge, of knowing yourself well, knowing your soul and your spirit, your abilities both physically and mentally. All that stuff that your mother is stupid and this and that shouldn’t have a lot of space in the sport. I know that people do it to generate money and all that, but I don’t think it’s needed. And with this fight we’re setting the example to the entire world that if you’re a great fighter and you do your job, people are going to watch you no matter what you say or don’t say.
Reporter: And what ended up happening, there were talks of you fighting Usman but now you’re fighting Nate Diaz what happened in those negotiations?
Masvidal: Usman said ‘No,’ when they asked him. They told me, ‘Yes,’ and they gave me a few names and I said, ‘Okay, let’s go.’ We went back and forth over money for a bit, maybe for a day and they told Usman, ‘This is the fight’ and he said, ‘No.’ When he said no they said, “OK, we’re going to take the belt,’ and they started looking for another person and that person was Nate Diaz. Usman called back saying he wanted the fight and they said too late we already have Nate Diaz, a man who wants to fight and that’s it, we have the hardest fight that’s ever existed in the UFC now on November 2.
Reporter: Why do you think Usman said no?
Masvidal: Why do you think he said no, brother? That guy knows I’ll baptize him, he’s never wanted to fight me. He can only do one thing: smell balls well. He can’t fight; he just has his face there (lowers his head). Even when he has a chance to throw hands, when he has his opponent on the ground, he doesn’t do anything. And it’s not like I don’t respect wrestlers, I have a lot of respect for the wrestling community like Khabib (Nurmagomedov). I have a lot of respect for him because he tries to finish fights, he tries to throw hands and get people. Someone like Usman, I don’t respect his style at all. From a personal standpoint I don’t know him, and the little I know of him, I don’t have much interest in him.
Reporter: Last question for me, this fight has picked up a lot of life and it’s been talked about a lot, do you think the BMF belt is in some ways it’s bigger than the real UFC welterweight title?
Masvidal: Oh, you just said it, it’s much bigger than the real title. There’s people that have held that title who were champions, who were fighters, real dogs, but the people that have the position now and the people who think they should be fighting for the belt, those people are not fighters. All they know what to do is talk and talk and why are they talking so much? Because they can’t fight. Nate is not talking, I’m not talking. I’m talking here, but nothing bad or negative about him, and the fight is still selling, it’s the most sold fight of the year, the event is almost entirely sold out, and we haven’t had to say anything about each other’s mothers or anything stupid like that.
Reporter: Finally, we have a gangster fight like you said – there is no need to say anything out of place, it’s a fight that the public wants to see, and we see that you bring a lot of ammunition with you...
Masvidal: And this is nothing, the day of the fight I’m going to be armed to the teeth, ready for anything.
Reporter: Physically, Mentally how do you feel?
Masvidal: Physically, I feel a bit fat, because I’m here in Mexico eating all the tacos I see. Just today I’ve had 15; 10 al pastor and four with cochinita pibil and I don’t know what else, but the truth is that I need to start dropping the weight now.
Reporter: What does it say about the division that the fight that we most want to see is this one and that the champion, there’s not many people who want to see him?
Masvidal: I think his mom and dad only want to see him and that’s it, and that’s because he doesn’t give it his all. It’s simple, I’m a fighter, but on top of that I have to entertain the people. If you guys pay your hard earned money, the people who do construction, the people who cut grass, they have to pay money and they have an option. They want to see violence, then that’s what they’re going to pay for; that’s why they’re not going to pick him, or the people who don’t give it all to the sport, who just want to win by the smallest margin. That’s not me. I want to win, I want to give it my all.
Reporter: I remember very well in April 2014, I was there with you in Orlando, and you were getting ready to fight Pat Healy. That day you presented me Colby Covington. Colby was in your corner, it’s been five complicated years, where’s that relationship with Colby today?
Masvidal: We’re not friends, and none of my audience – my public – knows who that guy is, so I’m not going to make him famous in this interview. He’s a nobody.
Reporter: On this fight night, we also have Canelo (Alvarez’s) fight. A lot of people prefer watching your fight, what can fans expect who prefer to watch your fight?
Masvidal: Pure violence, I promise. Pure violence from second to second. I’m not going to stop until my heart stops or they stop the fight, you know. That’s my mentality for every fight, but for this one a little more, because the opponent of mine has the same mentality I have, he wants to destroy me completely, and that gives me the extra that I haven’t had in years to wake up earlier, to go to sleep earlier, to eat a little better when I’m not in Mexico.
Reporter: You promise such a good spectacle that in your last fight you didn’t even give them an opportunity to drink their beer.
Masvidal: That was the plan. I wanted everyone to be astonished, wanted to steal their soul for those seconds that they were there, and the plan for this fight is the same. The plan for the fight before the fight with Ben, with Darren Till, was the same. People were watching the fight, and in one second, it was over. I took that moment from everyone, because I left them frozen and that’s what I want to do again: leave people frozen.
Reporter: Is that the strategy?
Masvidal: Yeah, always. In every fight the strategy is to baptize and take their soul. that’s always the strategy.
Reporter: Obviously, you first have Nate Diaz and to win that title of the baddest motherf*cker, but what would be next for Jorge Masvidal. Do you have your sight on the welterweight title, or do you have another name in mind?
Masvidal: Oh, I have several plans with my manager. I can’t say any of them right now, but you guys will see it all on November 2. So be ready to watch the fight, because I’m going to give it a spin to the general plans that already exist.
Reporter: A lot of blood, knockout?
Masvidal: The knockout has to come.
Reporter: What does it mean for you to headline a card at Madison Square Garden? I know you’re a big boxing fan, obviously, the Garden a very important house of boxing. How does it feel to be fighting there at this point in your career?
Masvidal: This fight is phenomenal, if it were here in Mexico or MSG, wherever, the first thing is the fight, my opponent. I want to fight against the toughest people that exist. When they offered me the Ben Askren fight, I told Dana White and company, ‘This is the toughest fight you can give me? I want to fight against tougher people to build my legacy.’ And they told me, ‘Yeah after this fight we’ll let you fight for the title – fight this guy first.’ And all I wanted was the toughest fight. A lot of people didn’t believe me and were thinking I didn’t want to fight him, but five seconds later they saw who I was. I’ve been a lot of time in this sport, and I’m not going to let anyone take me out of my path. My goal has been on my mind for years, and I’m going to achieve it no matter what.
Reporter: Before your fight with Ben, you told me that you were going to come out with scientific violence. Is this the same we can expect for your next fight?
Masvidal: The next fight is scientific violence. I’ve done a lot of mathematics on Nate Diaz, and yeah just put it together and make the decision, because you can have the entire plan, but you need to make the decision to do it, and that’s it. Just give it my all when I enter the fight.
Reporter: You also told me that this fight was for all the Latinos to break that gap between Latin fighters and American fighters, what changes does this fight bring and do you think it works for the same cause?
Masvidal: I mentioned it a lot in my last fight, and it’s true a lot of the fans and the Latino audience heard and they backed me up like never before. The UFC saw that and when we came to the table to talk about my number they changed dramatically, and it doesn’t only have to do with the knockout I got, but the Latino public that got behind me. If it’s me or someone else, whenever there is a Latino fighter, no matter what country he’s from, we have to back him. If he’s from Ecuador and you’re from Mexico, back him up and vice versa. We need to support each other; we can’t separate from each other, or else they're only going to treat their favorite fighters like they treated me for years, with no interest. Although I could beat anybody, there wasn’t much interest because my public wasn’t making that kind of noise. But today, that’s changed. The Latino audience is very involved in this, and on social media, and that’s helped. But we need to make even more noise if we want to see our favorite fighters get to the top. If not, they’re going to keep making us work triple and only paying us half of what the Americans are making, so it’s something that maybe some people don’t want to hear, but I have to say it.