Jorge Masvidal can’t be too mad at Chael Sonnen’s recent comments about him. But he still looks forward to proving the retired fighter and commentator wrong about gambling on his career with a grudge match against Colby Covington at UFC 272.
“I personally like Chael — a little bothered by that comment, but it’s kind of like it just sets up the f*cking mountain to be a lot higher,” Masvidal said on Wednesday’s episode of The MMA Hour. “When I climb it, and Chael’s like, ‘I can’t believe you climbed that mountain,’ I’m going to be like, ‘I told you, b*tch.’”
Sonnen made headlines earlier this week by categorizing Masvidal’s meeting with Covington as a “career-ending fight.”
“If he goes out there and he gets taken down and he gets mauled for 25 minutes, it is going to take a lot of luster off of the shine that is the No. 2, the sport’s second-biggest draw, the BMF, Jorge Masvidal,” Sonnen said on his YouTube Channel.
To be fair, the three-time UFC title challenger also showered Masvidal with praise and pointed out the reward on the other side of the risk: A shorter road to another title shot. But naturally, the negative implication of his statement captured the most attention, and it stung a little bit for Masvidal.
“I get it, man,” he said. “Two white boys from Oregon, they both have that sleazeball style, like, cutting edge at the time. I thought Chael did it in a more classy way, but he still said things that didn’t need to be said, like bringing up Anderson Silva’s wife. So those type of guys gotta stick together.
“But I like him, though, because Chael is the type of guy that will go back and apologize. So when I f*cking murder Colby, he has to be like, ‘Holy sh*t, this guy deserves a title fight,’ and blah, blah, blah.”
A win over Covington would also send a message to others.
As much as Masvidal enjoys the verbal stylings of Sonnen, he also credits them with encouraging fighters like Covington to take the same path. That ended up working against Masvidal directly when a dispute over money with Covington, his former roommate and teammate at American Top Team, led to a very public falling out. Instead of Covington talking trash on his behalf, he became the target, adding more drama he had no interest in.
When Masvidal looks at the matchup with his rival, it’s about more than just settling a personal grudge — it’s about taking a stance on what the sport should be, rather than what it’s become: A contest of wills versus an insult comic audition.
As Sonnen did with Silva, Covington has made Masvidal’s personal life fair game, and Masvidal wants to let the world know — in the most violent way — that trash-talkers don’t ultimately prevail in the sport (and you can get paid handsomely for knocking them out).
“It’s kind of like the Chael Sonnen thing,” Masvidal said. “Chael had to be so sh*t-talking because he didn’t have an exciting style for a long time; he was just wrestling guys to death. So he had to do that extra talking and get himself over like that. That influenced guys like Colby — that’s all he does.
“[Covington] has to talk about people’s wives. Like, how f*cking low of a society have we gotten, that’s even acceptable? You’re talking about people’s wives for no reason? Talking about Amanda Nunes’ team? In doing that, he inspires the future generations. So some 12-year-old may be looking at him, thinking, ‘Oh, this is the way to go, to insult a whole nation to get yourself over,’ because you weren’t selling pay-per-views, because you can’t fight, so you have to insult a whole country now.
“It just doesn’t make sense to me. We’re already going to fight as men. We’re going to give it all we have to each other. We don’t have to talk about things like children, women, religion, people’s countries. To make jokes, I think it’s cool to get under somebody’s skin. But to go to that level of disrespect, it’s not — and what’s even worse is that it might inspire future generations to do it. And that I won’t stand for. We’ve got to crush it.”