2019 was a breakout year for Jorge Masvidal; with an emphatic stoppage over Darren Till kicking things off, preceding the quickest knockout in UFC history over former Olympic wrestler Ben Askren and a stoppage for the BMF belt giving the veteran Miami Native a new level of fame. Masvidal was the Fighter of The Year in 2019 and as 2020 approaches he has multiple options for his next matchup. I’ve narrowed these options down to 5 possible opponents for “Gamebred” I will rate these possibilities out of ten in relation to how much sense they would make for Masvidal’s recently blossoming career.
Nate Diaz Rematch
Perhaps not the most discussed of the next options available to Masvidal right now; however it is worth remembering that Masvidal himself called for this rematch after the first fight ended in a disappointing stoppage due to the cut on Nate Diaz. This fight is a good idea in the respect of wanting to see a cleaner finish to the encounter; or potentially a better version of the younger Diaz brother. With this being said; and with Masvidal gaining respect from fans and pundits alike for his comments after the fight, a rematch is not the smartest idea for Masvidal. With the press conferences leading up to the first matchup not being as explosive as the anticipation suggested; and the fight not being the evenly contested war many expected, the second fight would likely do significantly worse at the box office. Combine this with the fact many think Diaz did not perform to the best of his ability that night; Masvidal risks facing a better version of Diaz than the one he dominated for 15 minutes at UFC 244. Overall a rematch would be good for the fans but it’s far from the best option for Masvidal
The second option and the most popular in the eyes of many; “The Notorious” Conor McGregor must get through an always dangerous Donald Cerrone before any other fights can be seriously discussed. However it seems the UFC’s view is McGregor will win; as UFC President Dana White came out and discussed the possibility of a rematch between the Irishman and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Assuming McGregor stops “Cowboy” in the first 10 minutes of their fight, a bout between the sports biggest star and Jorge Masvidal would be appealing for a number of reasons. It would be a stand up fight between two of the most skilled MMA boxers of all time; in addition to this the UFC would most likely stage a press tour which would have potential to be a trash-talking phenomenon. This is could be an excellent option for Masvidal; granted if he were to lose his stock would drop significantly, however he would have a handsome pay check to look forward to whatever the result. In addition to this; Masvidal is bigger, most likely hits harder and has been more active as of late. If you put all of these factors together; this fight looks like a pretty decent idea for Jorge.
Will the big brother attempt to do what the little brother could not? That is the narrative making rounds in the MMA community since Nick Diaz gave a bizarre interview with Ariel Helwani where he appeared to call out Jorge Masvidal. The Diaz brothers have both been linked with quite a few opponents in recent years; however Nick has not fought since January 2015; and that fight succeeded a near two year layoff from the sport. Out of all fights this article covers; this fight is probably the least likely to actually occur; and this is due to the elder Diaz’s inactivity and questionable willingness to fight as of late. Masvidal would likely be a heavy favourite due to these facts; however Nick Diaz is not the draw of his younger brother or indeed of Conor McGregor, so it’s hard to see the business appeal of fighting an unranked former contender who could turn into a dangerous fight. Whether or not Nick Diaz has been training since 2015 is unknown to the MMA community; and if he has he could be a very challenging fight for Masvidal. The fight would be an intriguing stylistic match up; and one which could easily grant Masvidal even greater acclaim amongst the hardcore MMA fanbase (many of whom know and love Nick Diaz). Woth this being said there are far better career options for Jorge Masvidal right now.
An obvious yet little talked-about option would be for Jorge Masvidal to fight for the Welterweight Championship as there are many who believe he is the rightful number one contender. The champion Kamaru Usman has emerged in the last 12 months as the man to beat in the division after a 5 round drubbing of former champion Tyron Woodley and a recent stoppage win over Masvidal’s teammate and former friend Colby Covington. Stylistically Usman is tough to beat for anybody; with technically sound striking, cardio for days and elite wrestling. These skills combined with the pressure Usman forces upon his opponents have created a tall order for Masvidal or anyone else to usurp him and take the Welterweight throne. Masvidal is probably the best boxer who weighs 170lbs in the UFC at this point in time; so him knocking out Usman to take the strap is well within the realms of possibility. However Usman is a rough night out for anyone; especially if he is able to back his opponents up against the fence. Objectively; this fight is high risk but possibly the highest reward fight, as if Masvidal takes the gold he will get a championship contract with extra PPV points every time he fights at a PPV event (which will most likely be every fight he has from this point). His star has risen from nowhere in the last 12 months; therefore having the belt would add to this; allowing him more media opportunities and endorsements. This could be the start of Jorge Masvidal becoming a Conor McGregor sized star; for that reason, this could be the best option of the bunch.
This would certainly be a curve ball from the way the MMA landscape currently looks; but it is more possible than many may think. Georges St Pierre has not fought since November 2017 when he took the middleweight title from Michael Bisping. He did announce his retirement from the sport in February 2019 but sources close to GSP; namely Firas Zahabi have confirmed he is still training in a very professional capacity. GSP has often talked about stock recently; and there is nobody in the UFC who’s stock is currently rising faster than Jorge Masvidal. A fight between the two; whilst having only an outside chance of happening, would be extremely compelling. Additionally; if McGregor loses to Cerrone; McGregor won’t fight him, if Khabib loses to Tony Ferguson, Khabib vs GSP won’t happen, a scenario which would make GSP vs Masvidal one of the biggest fights in MMA. This is also GSP’s natural weight and the stylistic match up is intriguing; as it’s arguable GSP has never fought anyone as evolved an MMA skillset as Masvidal possesses with his ability to get in and out of distance and prolific anti-wrestling posing potential problems for one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time. This has the making of a very tough fight for Masvidal; as GSP has not lost a fight in over a decade, but his advanced age and lack of cage activity in recent years could also be a decisive factor in a potential bout between the two. It may not be the most appealing fight on the list; but would certainly act as a pleasant surprise.
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