The 17-year veteran has fought a who’s-who of MMA lifers in a variety of notable organizations and though he’s eager to add Usman to that list, he doesn’t think that the UFC’s current welterweight champion necessarily compares to the best that he’s faced in the cage.
In an interview with BT Sport, Masvidal was asked if a title fight with Usman would be the biggest bout of his career and his answer painted Usman in an unflattering light.
“Parts of it yes, parts of it no,” Masvidal said. “A fight is just more than the guy you have in front of you. It’s also a moment, it’ll be fighting for the UFC title, so that’s huge. But of the skill set? No.
“This animal hunter has tamed much more ferocious animals and wild beasts than this mere insect in front him. So as far as that goes, skill level goes, no. This individual will be tamed on that night, this matador will tame the wild animal and with ease, as well.”
After winning the “BMF” belt by defeating Nate Diaz at UFC 244 last November, Masvidal put himself into position to potentially challenge Usman at a future card and he acknowledged that there were rumblings the two could have stepped in to save the doomed UFC 249 event that was in need of a new headliner after COVID-19 travel restrictions bumped Khabib Nurmagomedov from a fight with Tony Ferguson.
According to Masvidal, the negotiations stalled due to the financials not working out.
With the UFC postponing all scheduled events in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, Masvidal and Usman won’t be worrying about their next booking for a while. In all likelihood, that will only give the two more time to build up their feud as Masvidal has been doing on his own YouTube channel. He recently released a video directed at Usman that accused “The Nigerian Nightmare” of having “multiple personalities.”
“I don’t even got to say nothing,” Masvidal said. “If this is an electoral campaign, this is exactly what I do I just let this idiot murder himself. It’s one week he loves vanilla, the next it’s strawberry, this guy’s going through a midlife crisis already and I’m gonna bring it to an end for him soon.
“I’m not being negative either. I just want to get that fight signed and get in there and do my job.”
The two did get some face time at the Super Bowl on radio row, resulting in a brief verbal confrontation between the two. However, Masvidal downplayed the severity of that encounter, explaining that he had to speak to Usman directly after comments from Usman were relayed to him by a third party.
“I’m not gonna tell so-and-so, I’m gonna tell you to your face, that’s how much a man I am,” Masvidal said. “I’m gonna f*ck you up when we get this fight signed. It’s gonna happen and I’m gonna f*ck you up. And that’s it. From there, I just told him that, I’m getting ready to walk away, I just want to say my peace and he went all crazy and s*it, like ‘do somethin’, do somethin’.’
“There’s like 20 guys in between us, you know I can’t do nothing especially with you being loud. If you would have said something in the indoor talking voice, we coulda done something. But you made such a scene for everybody to see and get in-between that real man s*it couldn’t happen. But he exposed himself again, he showed his cards again on that day and I thank him.”
As critical as Masvidal is of Usman’s skills, there’s no denying the results. After winning The Ultimate Fighter 21, Usman went on to win his next 10 bouts including an all-out war with Colby Covington at UFC 245 that ended in a TKO victory for Usman with less than a minute remaining in the fight.
Masvidal gave credit to Usman for that performance, but overall, he’s not impressed by anything that the champion brings to the table.
“I don’t know, he’s a boring-ass dude,” Masvidal said. “If I’m speaking from a straight tactical point, he doesn’t want to strike and he doesn’t fully commit to wrestling either. All he fully commits to is stalling. Just being a f*cking stall machine. For the first time he didn’t stall with [Covington] and it was a s*it kickboxing match and the world gave him all types of praise for it because he wasn’t his usual boring self and he actually threw some fists.
“We all know he’s not gonna throw fists when it comes to me. He’s gonna try to act like he’s gonna throw fists and then he’s gonna go for the takedown and he’s gonna quickly find out I don’t ever get held down by that guy. I won’t get out-grappled by that guy. I’ll put my life on that, I’ll put my money on it.”
Watch Masvidal’s full interview with BT Sport below: