Don’t count Jorge Masvidal among those impressed by Leon Edwards’ welterweight title defense over Kamaru Usman in the pair’s recent trilogy match at UFC 286.
“I’m a purist with fighting and stuff, and I thought both guys weren’t fighting to their potential, for whatever reasons be. It wasn’t the fight the fans deserved,” Masvidal said this week on The MMA Hour. “And it’s something that, it’s always been going on for the two of them for their whole career. That’s why they’re not fan favorites, that’s why they don’t break pay-per-views records — because they don’t risk it.
“Fans ain’t stupid, they know what they’re watching. They know that when you get a guy in there, win or lose, like me, I’m going for your jugular. I’m going to get you out and I have the ability to get you out. I’m going to get you out. A lot of times these guys are just playing points and very strategic, a one-two at the air and then move for like three minutes. It’s not a type of fight that I bring. The division definitely needs me more than I need the f****** division, man.”
Edwards cemented his UFC title reign by winning a majority decision at UFC 286 following his dramatic come-from-behind upset of Usman in August 2022, which saw Edwards capture the belt with a fifth-round head kick knockout in the final minute at UFC 278. Edwards is now unbeaten in 12 consecutive octagon appearances. His rise to top of the division catapulted him all the way into a No. 4 pound-for-pound ranking for MMA Fighting.
But Masvidal, 38, isn’t sold. Although he acknowledged that Edwards is a skilled champion, “Gamebred” also panned Edwards vs. Usman 3 as “boring” and went as far as to predict that if even he and Edwards ever meet in a long-discussed grudge match in London, Masvidal will be the one receiving the majority of the fan support from Edwards countrymen.
“You might not believe this, but I’m 10 times the draw that f****** what’s-his-face is in England,” Masvidal said. “What are you f****** talking about? I’m telling you. I’m telling you I’m a bigger draw in f****** England. Ask motherf*****s.
“How many pay-per-views did him and Usman just do? ... If the number was anywhere decent, believe me, they would’ve hinted at already, because it’s digital s***. They already know all this s***. It’s digital. If that number was good, they would’ve leaked that s*** out already. ‘Oh, Leon, blah, blah, blah, 500,000 pay-per-views.’ You ain’t seen s*** because they ain’t sold s***. Ain’t nobody know both of them, bro. They’re good competitors, they’re good fighters, but they don’t put it all on the line, so nobody’s going to be buying their s***.”
“I’m f****** going to beat the English dude up with more English fans than him, bro,” Masvidal continued. “I’ll telling you.”
Masvidal is currently set to face Gilbert Burns in a pivotal contenders match on April 8 in the co-main event of UFC 287, which takes place in his hometown of Miami.
UFC president Dana White has repeatedly insisted that Masvidal vs. Burns will not affect who challenges for Edwards’ title next; that honor has already been awarded to Colby Covington, per White. But Covington’s supposed title shot is not without controversy — fans, media, fellow welterweights, and even Edwards himself have publicly questioned the UFC’s decision at 170 pounds, with Edwards proclaiming he won’t fight Covington next.
Edwards instead prefers to fight Masvidal — as long as “Gamebred” wins at UFC 287 — in large part because of the animus the two share dating back to their 2019 run-in in London. That suggestion sounds perfect to Masvidal, who said on The MMA Hour that he believes he and Edwards could sell out a stadium in the UK if the UFC booked their grudge match.
But Masvidal also knows that the conversation is pointless unless he wins at UFC 287.
“Even if the title [shot] wasn’t on the line, it’s in my hometown, where it all started. So just for that alone, I feel like an exclamation is much, much needed, in a way that only I could deliver — the Miami boy in Miami delivering, because it’s got to have a little bit of swag to it as well,” Masvidal said. “This ain’t that five-second knockout. We’ve got to break the records with style and [let them] know that I’m here. So I feel like I’ve got to go out there no matter what and just give the best version of me, and everything else will fall into line.
“Not that I’ve got to hit any particular one move, or this and that, but just go out there and compete and f****** give it my all from the start of the bell until the end of the bell.”