Jorge Masvidal may be stuck on the sidelines as his legal issues work themselves out, but he’s confident he’ll see the inside of a UFC cage again before 2022 is over.
“This year, I’ll guaranteed return,” Masvidal told ESPN Deportes this week in Spanish (h/t MMA Junkie for English translation). “I don’t know the date yet. I think that with two fights, I can be in contention for the title or in a title contender fight.
“There are options, but the first thing that matters is me — to be in the best condition of my life, to improve the fight. Everyone knows that I can throw the hands, the kicks, the knees. People know that they can’t beat me with their hands, that they have to throw me into the fight. It’s something that I have to improve and find the formula for.”
Masvidal is currently dealing with the aftermath of his alleged attack on Colby Covington. Following the pair’s grudge match at UFC 272, which Covington won via unanimous decision, Masvidal allegedly assaulted his former friend and teammate outside of a Miami Beach steakhouse on March 21 in an incident that Covington has alleged left him with a brain injury.
Masvidal has since pled not guilty to charges of aggravated battery and criminal mischief, while Covington has declined to publicly comment on the case. The UFC star is slated to return to court in August, with a plea hearing set for Aug. 17 and a potential trial scheduled to begin Aug. 29.
In the meantime, however, “Gamebred” has been the target of attention from plenty of his fellow UFC welterweights, receiving recent callouts from the likes of Stephen Thompson and Michel Pereira, among others. At times, the 37-year-old Masvidal has also been linked to another name stuck on the sidelines: Former two-division champion Conor McGregor. And though McGregor’s timeline for a return from injury remains up in the air, Masvidal doubts the Irishman will ever be willing to signed on the dotted line to face him.
“He is false. He knows that I am a man who hits hard and that I come to kill. I do not come to hug in the cage,” Masvidal said. “I am going to give everything inside me to kill him. I have a little size, although now he’s shooting up and putting steroids and all kinds of things (in his body), but he is still a little boy.
“I would love to fight at 170 pounds, but I don’t wait for anyone. If he wants to do it, I’ll break his face. If he doesn’t want to do it, let someone come next.”
UPDATE: The war of words is on.