This weekend, on the main card of the stacked UFC 211, welterweight star Jorge Masvidal will face one of the trickiest tests of his career in Demian Maia, a man widely considered the welterweight division’s number one contender.
Maia’s strengths, of course, are no secret. The Brazilian is one of the best grapplers in MMA, if not the best outright. Despite Maia’s incredible skill on the mat, however, Masvidal is not particularly panicked about any prospective grappling exchanges with him. In fact, he believes he’s the better MMA grappler overall. The Cuban-American contender made this claim on Wednesday’s edition of BJ Penn Radio.
“I think I’m better than him in MMA, and in MMA grappling,” Masvidal said. “I’m going to prove it on Saturday. It’s my word against his. I can’t wait till Saturday to prove it to the world.”
Jorge Masvidal then weighed in on what a win over Maia will mean for his career. He expects a victory to make the masses more aware of him, and believes it will more than earn him the next crack at Tyron Woodley’s UFC welterweight title:
“[A win] is going to make my future even brighter,” he said. “The [Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone] fight helped me get known to the masses and those who didn’t even know who I was or what I was about. This fight’s just going to extra cement that, it’s going extra show my skills. It’s going to show I can fight with the top strikers in the world, I can fight with top grapplers in the world, or the best grappler in the world. It doesn’t matter.”
“I haven’t been promised the title shot,” he continued. “Nobody has come to me and said ‘hey, you win this fight, you’ve got the title shot.’ It hasn’t been promised to me, but Maia’s the clear-cut number one contender by far. And after Maia, they were talking about how Cerrone was the next number one contender. Cerrone was the guy that was going to get the next title shot, and I put an end to that. So if I beat a guy like Cerrone, I beat a guy like Maia, and I don’t get the number one contendership spot, you know that this sport is taking a drastic turn to something other than your niche market, where it’s pop stars and reality tv, shit like that, you know. We’re not talking about skillset no more and who can fight if I’m not the one who gets the next title shot. It’s blatantly obvious.”
Do you think Jorge Masvidal can take out Demian Maia and stake his claim to a welterweight title shot at UFC 211?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/11/2017.