Jorge Masvidal has surprised quite a few people after coming through with a lengthy message of respect and admiration for the superstar Conor McGregor.
The idea of a matchup between the powerful welterweight and the former two-weight world champion has been steadily gaining momentum ever since Jorge was able to earn himself a spot in the UFC record books with a five-second knockout of Ben Askren at UFC 239.
Funnily enough, despite his tense relationships with the likes of Askren and his fellow 170lb force Leon Edwards, Jorge seems to have quite a lot of nice things to say about Conor McGregor and everything he stands for.
Speaking with a certain level of respect for the Irishman, Masvidal told TMZ Sports that he holds a surprising amount of admiration for his would-be-rival – despite the potential for a fiery dynamic between them in the future.
“First, let me say whether Conor takes it or not – because people be putting sometimes words in people’s mouths, from my mouth in particular – I got good things to say about Conor. He’s done a lot in this sport and he’s made his money already. If he feels he’s not getting the money he deserves to come back, man I’m the first one to applaud him and be like, ‘Do your thing my brother. Go get the money.’
“I always cheer for my MMA brothers and sisters. So if he feels he ain’t getting his money’s worth, I’m not gonna call ever him a p*ssy for that, or nothing like that. Go get your money’s worth. That’s the first thing I want to say.
“The second thing is, if he wants to come back and he wants somebody who’s gonna stand with him and give him the type of fights that he likes, look no further my brother. Let’s not flirt with each other and all this sh*t. I’ve got a big buzz going on because I’m known and put people to sleep. You’ve got a huge buzz because you put people to sleep. Let’s do this. That’s it. It has to be no back and forth and all that flirty sh*t like we’re in high school. Let’s just scrap if we’re gonna scrap. If not, NEXT.” (via MMAFighting)
The promotion of blockbuster fights these days often comprises of a lot of probing and safe jabs in the early stages, especially when Conor is involved.
The man is a business at this point and choosing the correct fight often sees him take into account a wide number of factors – including the popularity of the prospective opponent as well as the built-in narrative and its potential to blossom.
Never one to play games, Masvidal went on to explain how he feels about the fight’s likelihood and how even if McGregor doesn’t sign on the dotted line, he has done enough in his career to enjoy the luxury of making that choice for himself.
“Believe me, brother, I can talk sh*t with the best of them. I grew up in Miami, Florida. Anybody that knows me knows I can talk sh*t for days, but I don’t get paid enough to do it so I’m not gonna be flirting with dudes online. Let’s just fight, what I signed up for, and that’s it. Conor wants the fight, I want the fight, it’ll happen. If not, I don’t want anybody putting words in my mouth or nothing like that.
“The dude is a f*cking G, bro. He did his thing. He wants more money and he’s not getting it, who am I to blame him? I would never tell a guy, ‘You’re a b*tch for not taking a fight.’ No, he wants to get paid his money. He deserves it. I’m in the same place right now. I want an upgrade from where I’ve been at.
“I used to be a 55er, Conor used to be a 45er. I’m naturally a 70 pounder, Conor’s probably a natural 55er. I’m a small 70 pounder though and Conor’s a decent-sized 55er so the size is not that much. It’s not incomparable. It’s not crazy. There’s probably more of a difference between me and [Darren] Till and me and Conor, size-wise, and me and Till are in the same weight class.”
And while his words have been kind, Jorge made it clear that he would be going in there to knock him out cold in a fashion similar to the destruction he imposed on both Darren Till and more recently, Ben Askren.
“If Conor wants it, it’s here. The fight is here and it’s gonna be action-packed. I’m gonna get my hand raised at the end of it, I know that for a fact. No matter what happens, I’m getting my hand raised at the end of that.
“And if Conor takes the fight, I know I’m the type of guy that he’s gonna be motivated by to run early, do the miles that he’s got to do, and train because he knows I’m only going for one thing on him, the off button. I’m not going in there to outpoint him or nothing, I’m going in there hit the off button on him and that wakes up a lot of fighters.
“If you want this fight, I’m right here. Let’s get it f*cking cracking. Let’s go.”
Who knows if the fight ever happens. Chael Sonnen made an interesting point about Dana potentially playing mind-games with The Notorious by telling the world that Masvidal is too big for him.
Whether or not he will take the bait for what could well be a fight of gargantuan proportions is anyone’s guess at this stage.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena