Jorge Masvidal has done everything needed to make a favorable impression. He has scored two straight finishes, with the second coming on national television against a highly popular fighter. He’s made one successful call-out. There’s even been a massive money throwdown.
It’s time for the UFC to reciprocate the love.
It’s time for the company to get behind Masvidal and provide the boost that comes with the highly regarded UFC marketing machine.
Three consecutive victories isn’t a sign of dominance, but Masvidal has made the most of the wins and the opportunities that have followed. He might not be Conor McGregor, but Masvidal is a unique and bold voice in a space that needs some at the moment. At the worst, he’s Nick Diaz-lite — he’s not afraid to speak his mind, he doesn’t show any remorse in calling out a fighter and, perhaps most importantly, he puts on exciting fights.
Last weekend, Masvidal went up against Donald Cerrone, a fighter he called out by name in the moments following a TKO win against Jake Ellenberger less than two months earlier. Masvidal had it all on display. Cerrone, noted for his stand-up and riding a massive wave of momentum from four straight wins at welterweight, could have jumped into title contention with a victory. Instead, it was an impressive showing by Masvidal, who battered Cerrone on the feet, nearly ending the fight in the first round before finishing off the “Cowboy” in the second stanza. It was a spectacular performance in which Masvidal showed great footwork, an array of punches and finishing power.
The TKO victory at UFC on Fox 23 was exactly the type of performance Masvidal needed to stand out from a crowded pack. By not taking advantage of their mic time following a victory and not capturing the crowd in that moment — or during a fight — it’s easy for a fighter to become just another nameless athlete donning four-ounce gloves. Masvidal has made sure that isn’t going to be the case these days, and it’s time for the UFC to notice.
Masvidal called his shot against Cerrone, finished the job and then raised the ante again, putting up $200,000 during his post-fight interview while guaranteeing that he would derail whoever was next.
Masvidal hasn’t stopped there, either. He called out Demian Maia and Neil Magny in the days following his finish of Cerrone, boldly declaring everyone is afraid to fight him.
Sound a little Diaz-ish? Well, that’s a very good thing.
The signs are there that Masvidal can at least step forward and become a marquee name, if not a star, in a class that has come to a screeching halt. The draw between Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson and the subsequent rematch makes for a logjam in the division. However, it also means Masvidal might not be far off from a chance at gold. That was the word for Cerrone heading into the fight with Masvidal, so why shouldn’t Masvidal get the same opportunity after how badly he decimated Cerrone?
All three of Masvidal’s losses in the past three years were via split decision. Nobody has made Masvidal look silly. either. He’ll give anyone a hellacious fight and make it exciting in the process, especially as he’s turned up the finishing aggression in the past two fights. Fights with Magny, Maia, Robbie Lawler and either Diaz brother — a dream scenario for sure — would present a huge opportunity for Masvidal.
Those are huge fights and show just how on the cusp Masvidal is in taking a considerable step in his career. The good thing? After the last two showings and post-fight happenings, Masvidal isn’t going to let brighter lights get the best of him. If anything, he’s embraced it.
Now, the UFC should notice and do its part. There are only so many names who have the potential to draw attention. Masvidal deserves a chance to show he’s one of them.