Despite finding himself on the receiving end of a finish that will likely transpire as one of the most infamous knockouts in recent memory, Jorge Masvidal couldn’t hide his admiration for two-time foe, Kamaru Usman’s win — describing the right hand and setup he utilized as “beautiful“.
Dropping his second straight title challenge loss to the Nigerian, Masvidal suffered a rather brutal knockout in the second round of the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena event on Saturday — the first time he had been finished with strikes since June of 2008.
Circling away whilst attempting to counter with a left hook, Masvidal was met with a massive straight right from Usman, sending him to the canvas swiftly, snapping his head back to boot. Following up with at least four-flush hammerfists, Usman rendered Masvidal unconscious for the first time in his professional career. Whilst many had predicted a successful knockback for the dominant titleholder, the fashion in which he managed his fourth straight successful title defence was surprising, to say the least.
Reflecting on the loss, Masvidal spoke with ESPN MMA reporter, Ariel Helwani on Monday, detailing how impressed he was with the timing of Usman’s strike, as well as the disguise he used to set it up — initially expecting the Auchi native to shoot for another takedown following a prior bodylock success in the first frame.
“I look at it (the knockout), and I’m like, ‘Wow, perfect timing,” Masvidal said. “That misleading — I thought he (Kamaru Usman) was going in for a shot (takedown), and when I realized it wasn’t a shot, it was too late. I was throwing my check left hook, but it was already too late. I read the information wrong, so he sold it to me beautifully, and that’s why he got those results.“
Even going as far as to call himself a “fan” of Usman after the finish, it appears the two have managed to put their bad blood behind them afterwards following an embrace in the centre of the Octagon.
“In that moment right there, I am a fan because I love the sport so much, and it was just beautiful technique.“
Despite turning 36-years-old in November last and dropping two consecutive title challenge losses, Masvidal still has plans to eventually wrap UFC gold around his waist before it’s all said and done in his professional run.
“I’m 36-years-old. I still feel good,” Masvidal. said. “I still can push myself in the gym and not be overwhelmed, even by the young guys, so why not give it another run, you know?“
Whilst no immediate plans to lay out a blueprint in regards to who he would like to meet in his Octagon return, fans have clamoured for a showdown between Masvidal and Stockton fan favourite, Nick Diaz, who was in attendance on Saturday night in Jacksonville, Florida, and according to UFC president, Dana White, is interested in a UFC return for the first time since 2014.
A pairing of Masvidal and Diaz also has quite the interesting narrative behind it, with Masvidal claiming the symbolic BMF championship with a November 2019 doctor’s stoppage win over Nick’s younger brother, Nate. And if the elder Diaz wants to avenge that loss for his younger sibling, Masvidal would be willing to meet him in the Octagon before the end of the year.
“Definitely,” Masvidal responded when asked if he would be interested in fighting Diaz. “Nick (Diaz) is a stud. If Nick wants to throw down I’m more than willing to throw down. Like I said, I’m going to do it on my time, I’m not taking short notice fights, no matter who it is.“
“I’m not going to do that right now,” Masvidal explained. “But, if Nick does want to fight towards the end of this year, what can I say — I’m here. You want to do right for your little brother? Let’s go. I heard a lot of interviews that he wasn’t too keen on what I did to his little brother (Nate),” Masvidal said. “Neither would I. I feel for Nick in that situation. I know what I’d wanna do if somebody did that to my little brother. So, let’s go.“