Next month, fight fans will be awarded with an embarrassment of riches when UFC 217 goes down in the Big Apple. Leading into — three count’em, three — title fights, Jorge Masvidal is going to fight Stephen Thompson. It’s the new breed going to war with each other in a wild clash of styles. You take an aggressive street fighter turned complete MMA athlete and pit them against a Karate an kickboxing champion, that’s just a win every time. Masvidal recently talked about how he’s going to prepare for the “Wonderboy”, and it’s clear he’s studying some film.
“I’m watching Bruce Lee movies everyday. I’ve seen the Karate Kid like three times this week at least. I’m just keeping myself in the Karate mindset as much as I can right now so I can see everything coming. […] I feel like I could do a lot of things with [Stephen Thompson]. There’s certain ranges you just shouldn’t give to him because that’s where he’s best at. There’s a lot of ranges he just cant fight. That’s why he can’t put pressure on because he doesn’t know how to fight there. He was just taught one thing. His dad forced him into one martial art and he doesn’t really do well in a lot of other ranges. He’s going to have to fight-fight with me I’m not just a strike, or a guy who can shoot takedowns and stuff. I can fight at all ranges, I’ve been doing it my whole career. He hasn’t. He’s only got one range.”
— Jorge Masvidal UFC (@GamebredFighter) August 17, 2017
“My strategy — I’m going to tell you and hopefully you don’t guys go and tell him — I’m going to be honest you and tell you my strategy. I’m going to punch him in his face and I’m just going to keep doing that until he figures a way out for himself, y’know? It’s a case of me and him are both in jail and we’re sharing a cell, and you would know who’s doing the laundry, who’s clipping their toe nails, who’s preparing the food for the other. That guy’s never about to fight nobody. Don’t buy wolf tickets and the dream telling that he’s doing. That guy plays bicycle counter-punch every time. If guys rush at him, he can do well y’know? But if not, he doesn’t take a step forward, that’s just not him. He doesn’t go forward, pressuring guys throwing bombs.” — Jorge Masvidal on The TSN MMA show.
All jokes aside, it sounds like Jorge Masvidal has a good idea on how this Karate thing works. Stephen Thompson is at his best with a fighter who is going to let him keep a range to let his elite kicks fly in all sorts of places. If there’s a fighter who is going to take the fight to Thompson up close and dirty, it’s going to be Masvidal. It’ll be facscinating to see how the whole thing plays out. The two welterweight contenders go at it on November 4th at Madison Square Garden.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 10/11/2017.