If there is any confusion, Masvidal says the UFC welterweight champ doesn’t have to look any further than his current coaches and training partners to educate him on the subject.
“On a personal note, Usman’s coaches, training staff, a good amount of them were my graduating class from American Top Team before they split, and (then went to the) Blackzillians, and then whatever the gym is called now that they created with Henry Hooft and other individuals,” Masvidal said in an interview with Submission Radio. “Great gym and stuff, but that’s a part of what used to be American Top Team.
“So, his coaches know, his training partners know very well who I am, and he knows very well who I am. So, for him to say ‘who,’ it’s kind of like, I know why you’re saying ‘who,’ I know why you’re saying ‘who.’ The circle’s ain’t that big. We both know what time it is when we both get in there.”
In the aftermath of his fifth-round TKO win over Colby Covington at UFC 245, Usman was asked about potential opposition for his next title defense. When Masvidal’s name was brought up, he asked who that was and ignored the idea that a potential fight made much sense.
Since that time, Masvidal has gone on a very public campaign to ensure Usman is aware of his standing in the division and the threat he represents.
Usman may have discounted Masvidal at the UFC 245 post-fight press conference, but he has definitely acknowledged the “BMF” champion in the past. In fact, prior to his December title defense, Usman told MMA Fighting he felt like Masvidal was more hype than reality in terms of his legitimacy as a title contender.
“I wouldn’t say [I’ve been] impressed,” Usman said of Masvidal. “Because it’s Masvidal, nothing’s changed. He’s the same guy. He’s fought the same way forever. It’s just the luck of the draw. He’s getting that luck of the draw.”
Obviously, Masvidal doesn’t buy that statement. He’s quite certain coaches such as Jorge Santiago and Kami Barzini, who now work at Hooft’s Hard Knocks 365 after exiting American Top Team, will inform Usman what he’s all about.
“‘This guy Masvidal, it’s not rumors or myths, this guy is really a bad motherf*cker,’” Masvidal said. “They knew I was a hard worker then. And I’m not exaggerating, a lot of guys that are even in his corner know very well who I am, and (that) this is my everything, how my work ethic is.”
After dispatching Covington and ex-champ Tyron Woodley in consecutive fights, Usman doesn’t have many options for future opponents. Still, Masvidal suspects the logic of their matchup won’t make it happen.
“He better go keep asking for that other dude that nobody knows his name (Leon Edwards), that he already beat that’s ranked under me,” he joked. “That makes a lot of sense. The guy you already beat, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. The guy that you beat that’s ranked under me, you want to give him a title shot? That dude’s bananas, man.
“But you can’t blame him. He wants to hold onto that belt. Do your thing, man. I’m just a bully now. I’m just being this bully. Conor [McGregor] doesn’t want to fight, Usman doesn’t want to fight. What am I to do? Poor me.”