Welcome to The Weekly Takedown, Illustrated SportsThe latest look at MMA. Each week, this column will provide insights and information on the most prominent stories from the fighting world.
Jorge Masvidal has his sights set on fighting for the title
Jorge Masvidal will fight Leon Edwards in December at UFC 269, which will be a continuation of his original fight in March 2019 in a UFC fight night in London.
That same night, Edwards defeated Gunnar Nelson by split decision. Then came the main event, where Masvidal knocked out Darren Till. While a victorious Masvidal was being interviewed after his victory, he suddenly found himself in the middle of a backstage altercation with Edwards. Unsurprisingly, both Masvidal and Edwards remember the moment in distinctly different ways, but there is no argument that the fight ended with an open cut under Edwards’s left eye.
This fight is what led Masvidal to the scandalous phrase “I had to give him the trio with the soda”, which perfectly captured the spirit of the moment. And now that the two highly ranked welterweights – Edwards is in third place, while Masvidal is in sixth – will meet in December, Masvidal says he is eager to finally teach Edwards a proper lesson for his actions.
“From a personal point of view, I have no respect for Leon,” says Masvidal. “The way he went about business was fucking childish and cowardly, talking shit and trying to interrupt me in interviews. On the business side, I’m going to break his face. He’s never fought anyone like me. This guy will come with his skates on. He’s going to be running from me all night. So get ready to see a match on the track, because he will run away from me. And when he finally decides to hit the ground like a man, I’m going to break his jaw. “
Masvidal (35-15) has lost his last two bouts, both to reigning welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. Edwards (19-3, 1 NC) is, once again, a one-shot win over Usman, and desperately needs a win against Masvidal to clinch the title. He has not tasted defeat in his last 10 games, although he was nearly knocked out last June by Nate Diaz.
“Did you see what Nate Diaz did to him?” Masvidal asks. “Nate almost took his damn soul with him. Well, does he know who I am? Don’t be surprised at what I do to your England face. “
The “three pieces with a soda” has added another wonderful layer to Masvidal’s remarkable career. He noted that he plans to remind Edwards of their shared history as they move into the next fight.
“Thanks to Leon, we sold over 2,000 of those jerseys as soon as they came out,” says Masvidal. “So thank you, Leon. You should send that son of a bitch a piece of the check. I’ll definitely get him a signed shirt. “
Masvidal will also be part of All Elite Wrestling’s Rampage Friday show in his hometown Miami. It will be in the corner of former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos, who joins Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page against the team of Chris Jericho, Sammy Guevara and Jake Hager.
“These motherfuckers in AEW are savages, and I’m here to tame them,” says Masvidal. “They come to Miami, so there’s no way they can fuck with the American Top Team at my place.”
Masvidal appeared in Rampage last month, and he even hit his signature high knee to knock out Jericho, a wrestling legend.
“I respect the Chris Jericho shit,” says Masvidal. “He has done this at the highest level for 30 years. If I see him elsewhere, I invite him to drink all night. But I only have one speed. When I see him in the ring, it’s a different story. “
Even with multiple projects keeping him busy, Masvidal’s focus is fighting. He plans to use the fight against Edwards as a catapult back into the title race.
“I have the best fans in the world, I have some crazy things planned and I’m not done yet,” says Masvidal. “I am honored when I look back on my life and what I have accomplished. I love shit. But it is not over. I’m still cruel as shit, and I still have a lot to do. I go to work in the gym every day.
“Another title fight, that’s going to happen. I don’t care how much I have to dig. They have never given me anything in my life, and I am not going to do it now. I’ll get to work. Put one tough guy after another in front of me and I’ll execute them. Then it will be undeniable, and Kamaru and I will fight again. That’s when my hand will go up. It will make the ending of the movie that much better. “
UFC 268 changes direction without Luke Rockhold
Luke Rockhold is out of UFC 268 next month due to a herniated disc. That leaves Sean Strickland without an opponent for the must-see undercard at Madison Square Garden, which would be resolved if Gilbert Burns is placed in that position.
For Strickland, it would have had more name value to beat Rockhold, whose chin hasn’t been the same since 2016. But a win against Burns, who ranks second in the welterweight division, would have much more meaning.
If Usman successfully defends his title against Colby Covington at 268, the next most likely challenger would be Edwards, allowing him to overcome Masvidal. However, there is something odd about a possible Usman-Edwards meeting, as it feels like it is simply destined not to happen, much like Khabib Nurmagomedov-Tony Ferguson.
Burns-Strickland would add even more substance to the card. Strickland has yet to beat someone so impressive, and Burns is coming off a mediocre win against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. On a card full of high stakes, this would be a must win for both fighters.
The Pick ‘Em section
Here are my picks for this Saturday UFC fight night:
Featherweight Women’s Fight: Aspen Ladd vs. Norma Dumont
Pick: Aspen Ladd
Heavyweight fight: Andrei Arlovski vs. Carlos Felipe
Pick: Carlos Felipe
Lightweight fight: Jim Miller vs. Erick Gonzalez
Pick: Jim Miller
Middleweight fight: Andrew Sánchez vs. Bruno Silva
Pick: Bruno Silva
Women’s flyweight fight: Manon Fiorot vs. Mayra Bueno Silva
Pick: Manon Fiorot
Middleweight fight: Julian Marquez vs. Jordan Wright
Pick: Julian Marquez
Last week: 2–2
Current record: 30-17
Justin Barrasso can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @Justinbarrasso.
More MMA coverage:
• Dan Hooker wastes no time before his next fight
• Valentina Shevchenko won’t settle for another dominant performance
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.