You’d be hard-pressed to find a fighter who had a better 2019 than Jorge Masvidal. He concluded a historic campaign that included significant wins over Darren Till and the previously-unbeaten Ben Askren before capping the year with a BMF championship victory over Nate Diaz at Madison Square Garden.
As he looks toward 2020, Masvidal is opening the year with a series of big moves, starting with becoming a partner and ambassador for one of Mexico’s most popular Mezcals, Recuerdo Mezcal, as the brand enters the United States for the first time.
“I’ve tasted a number of Mezcals, but until Recuerdo Mezcal, I hadn’t found one I was willing to put my name behind,” Masvidal told UPROXX Sports. “I didn’t want to put something out there that I didn’t have full control of the product, from what it looks like to what it tastes like. I wanted to make sure I’m involved every step of the way. The ceiling for Recuerdo Mezcal is huge. It’s the oldest spirit in Mexico, and for me personally, it’s all I’ve been drinking for about the last four years.”
As for what takes place inside the Octagon, the first fight Masvidal has in his sights is a showdown with welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. After Masvidal’s stunning three-win streak to end the year, UFC president Dana White laid out a bout with Usman as one that makes sense. Usman, however, doesn’t think No. 3-ranked Masvidal has earned a shot for the belt.
“I imagine he wants to fight everybody that there is to fight but me,” Masvidal said. “It’s something that he wants to put off because he knows what’s going to happen: the title’s going to switch hands very hostilely and very quickly. Our skill sets don’t match up and he knows that. He’s going to have to stand with me inside. He can’t control me. He can’t take it to his area of expertise and keep me there longer than I can keep him in my area of expertise and dominate him over and over and over. His skill set is very, very limited, and he knows it.
“He can name 100 other people that deserve that title shot more than me,” Masvidal continued. “I’m sure if you get to ask him, there’s a reason he doesn’t want to fight me. And, if it wasn’t me that I’m talking about, I would kind of feel for the guy. He’s done all this hard work to get to where he’s at now. He just has to give it up. And it kind of has to suck because he knows it before he even gets in there, he’s already defeated mentally. I can just tell from him, it’s the way he talks, and he’ll (read) this interview, and he’ll react towards this interview. But I’ve already seen how you’ve been acting. You’re already defeated in your mind, my brother.”
While Masvidal is focused on taking the belt from Usman, the welterweight star ensured he hasn’t forgotten about Nate Diaz. After the inaugural BMF title bout ended abruptly due to a doctor stoppage, Masvidal seemed open to running it back a second time, which is still the case.
“If Nate was ready for combat, it’d be a different story,” Masvidal said. “We could hash out details. Him thinking I’m not going to give him the rematch is f*cking beyond me. Why would I not want the rematch? What’s going to happen that’s going to be different? I had a feeling in my head before I fought this individual of combinations, rhythms, feints, things that would work against him. Guess what? It did. It worked pretty damn good. So that reassured me that my math was correct. That’s the worst thing you could do with a guy like me because now I’m going to work off that same plan sheet, that same formula, and I’m going to have a more disastrous recipe for you the next time. So I don’t see why I wouldn’t take your rematch.
“We’ll have the rematch,” Masvidal continued. “I don’t know when, but I’m not sitting out for nobody. After I beat Usman, I got that title. I’ll give Nate the rematch. Why not? He feels that he deserves it, I’ll pay him back the favor and I’ll let him fight for the strap. But things just got to be right. I’m not sitting out and waiting for nobody.”
Another fight that’s intriguing for Masvidal would be with the former two-division champion, Conor McGregor. But for now, his focus is on obtaining UFC gold.
“He’s a crafty dude, he goes for it,” said Masvidal. “But he’s not the king of 170 pounds. He doesn’t have the belt. So it interests me? Yes and no. If it happens, awesome. I will gladly baptize his ass. But if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t. I will gladly go and take what’s mine and punish “who” guy’s face, f*cking ‘who’ kid. And no disrespect to DJ Whoo Kid, which is a great DJ. I’m talking about this, the owl guy (Usman).”
As for the foreseeable future, Masvidal wouldn’t give any hints at what happens after his next fight, which many assume will be against Usman. When asked if he’d follow the trend of floating between weight divisions for super fights, he admitted there’s “definitely a lot of talk about things we’re getting done this year and next year.”
“I can’t reveal any of those secret plans. If I tell you too much, you’re going to know, and I like to surprise people,” Masvidal said. “Things just have to play outright, and then we’ll drop it according to plan. (Winning the welterweight title) won’t be the pinnacle. It would just be more affirmation that everything I’m doing is going according to plan.
“What I can tell you is that I’ve got a lot of goals set up for 2020 that are going to rival 2019. We’re going to give people what they want, but not what they expect.”