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Jorge Masvidal understands why Conor McGregor is avoiding the fight with him

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Jorge Masvidal can’t fault Conor McGregor for not wanting to fight him.

This past weekend at UFC 246, the first and only “BMF” champion was sitting cage side where he watched McGregor dispatch Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in just 40 seconds in the main event.

Afterwards, while Masvidal waited to hear if his name would be called, McGregor instead opted not to single anybody out but added that any of the “mouthy fools” who have been asking to fight him can “get it.”

On the surface that might just be McGregor leaving his options open for the future but Masvidal sees the post-fight speech another way.

“He’s talking a lot of sh*t. But it’s all sh*t cause he doesn’t want this,” Masvidal said when speaking on the “Le Batard and Friends” podcast. “He could have cut the sickest promo — he could have cut the sickest promo of life. Had everybody extra wanting it and talking about it. We kind of understand where they’re going.

“Certain things he said on the microphone as well that he doesn’t feel he’s not up to speed, that he needs to work on this, he needs to work on that. I get it, man. Go back in there, find your timing, when you feel you’re ready for the challenge, we do it. There’s no rush. I’ll go get my title meanwhile. I’ll go f*ck up [Kamaru] Usman meanwhile, and then me and Conor can talk in the future if he wants to or not. It doesn’t really matter. I’m not here to bully people into fights or keep asking for the fight. I’m going to go about my business like I said I always will.”

Because he had a front row seat to witness the action, Masvidal also gave his take on McGregor’s performance, which started and finished in under a minute.

“He looked good,” Masvidal conceded. “He had considerable size that he gained from all his previous competitions I’ve seen him in. He’s definitely gained some size. The fight only lasted 40 seconds. Conor did a lot of the same things that he did, maybe some new elements like his shoulder strikes and things like that, that he was doing. But a lot of the stuff he’s always done, he’s always been great at it. Punching, kicking, mixing it up.

“I think maybe it was the first time he hurt somebody really bad with a head kick but I’ve seen him head kick before.”

As impressive as McGregor was last weekend, Masvidal isn’t convinced that the former two-division champion is ready to go from getting his feet wet with a win over “Cowboy” at 170 pounds following a 15-month absence from the sport to jumping directly into the deep end of the welterweight pool with a shark.

“Conor, he’s been out for a while and we’re asking him to come up to another weight class that isn’t his and fight the baddest motherf*cker in that f*cking weight class. Let the guy get into his groove,” Masvidal said. “When he finds his groove and space, I’ll still be at the top winning. He can come knocking on my door then.

“Right now, it’s sounding like what he said right after the fight, he still wants to get up to speed and do certain things. Get those certain things done and then when you’re ready, get in contact with my camp and we’ll figure it out.”

Because he truly believes he’s a nightmare matchup for McGregor, the 35-year-old veteran from Miami feels like that’s probably the same reason UFC president Dana White keeps throwing cold water on the potential fight whenever he’s asked about it.

Following UFC 246, White said he would no longer question McGregor competing at welterweight but he still felt like the fight with Masvidal didn’t make sense, especially with a possible rematch against Khabib Nurmagomdov still looming overhead.

“Damn right I’m going to hurt that guy. That’s the main reason why someone smart like Dana White doesn’t put that fight together and want it,” Masvidal said. “Because they can put one huge fight together and all that but that kind of hurts Conor’s reputation. Instead, get him several small fights — they’re not small fights, like this last fight that he had and keep him winning — and keep that cash cow generating revenue as a winner.

“Because if you bring him on this side, you’re going to have to generate the revenue from the losing side of it and it might not be as much as him winning several small battles. So that’s how I think Mr. Dana White sees this thing. Because if he brings him in on this side, he’s leaving with an ‘L’ guaranteed. They better not put that boy in there with me.”

In a perfect world, Masvidal would still take McGregor as his next opponent over welterweight champion Kamaru Usman but it’s looking more and more likely that the fight he wants most won’t happen.

“Obviously, I want the cash cow. I want all the money possible,” Masvidal explained. “But if they don’t want to fight me then blessings be upon you and go collect your paycheck. I still have more options than all those guys you mentioned.

“My next fight is guaranteed a title shot versus whoever has the title when I say I’m fighting for the title. So I’m in a great position. I’m in the driver seat of all these conversations.”