From an altercation at Super Bowl media day earlier this year to words exchanged over social media and interviews, there’s certainly no love lost between Masvidal and Usman as they prepare to meet on Saturday night in Abu Dhabi.
The last time Masvidal spoke with this much contempt toward an opponent was almost exactly one year ago, before his faceoff with Ben Askren at UFC 239. On that night, Masvidal earned a jaw-dropping five-second flying knee knockout — the fastest in UFC history — before blasting the former Bellator champion with a couple more punches as the referee rushed into stop the fight.
Judging by his demeanor two days away from his first UFC title shot, Masvidal seems to carry the same kind of attitude, like a holstered gun just waiting to take aim at Usman.
“Like I said in the Askren fight, before and after, it’s never personal – it’s always business,” Masvidal explained to MMA Fighting during the UFC 251 virtual media day. “It’s just people that I probably didn’t get along too well with, but Usman for a fact has crossed lines that no other competitor that I’ve fought have talked about.
“He’s talked about things he’s going to do to my butthole, which I don’t understand why he’s talking about my butthole. He’s talking about my ethnicity, whether I’m this or that. He’s telling people I’m saying I’m god. You can’t find the video or a Twitter thing or nothing ever saying that I said I’m god. So this guy’s just doing a lot of things that are going to cause him to get hurt in a very violent way.”
While Masvidal isn’t going to purposefully break the rules, he won’t decline the chance to add an exclamation point to his performance if given the opportunity.
“If the referee trips on the way to stopping me and I get to get a couple extra, extra punches, I wouldn’t mind,” he said. “They’re going to be a little bit more than the super necessary punches. It’s going to be something a little special. I’m going to have to go into my fast-forward speed and truly send this guy to another plane.”
Despite taking the fight on just six days’ notice, Masvidal is obviously ultra-confident about what will unfold when he finally shares a cage with Usman. Part of that certainly stems from the skills he’s amassed over 48 professional fights, but he’s also quick to point out what he believes are shortcomings of the UFC’s reigning welterweight champion.
“[Usman is] nowhere near as good as advertised,” Masvidal said. “That’s why I’m here, I’m going to prove it. I think he’s mentally weak and I can’t blame the guy either. He’s got 17 personalities. He should have had them diagnosed and maybe each one of his personalities needs to be on Adderall or some type of substance so he doesn’t have so many personalities.
“So it’s just his mental weakness is going to come out on Saturday in an abundance. The world’s going to see it that I just took full advantage of this individual and his weak ass ways.”