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Jorge Masvidal finally gives in and thanks Ben Askren for UFC popularity surge (sort of)

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UFC 239: Ultimate Media Day Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

At the moment, no one is hotter in mixed martial arts (MMA) than Jorge Masvidal, as the heavy-handed slugger has surged in popularity over the last year. As for why “Gamebred” is finally on everyone’s radar, it boils down to a mixture of things.

For starter’s, Masvidal knocked out former Welterweight title contender, Darren Till, at UFC Liverpool this past March (see it again here). Moments after, Masvidal was involved in a backstage altercation with Leon Edwards (relive it here), and thus “three piece and a soda” was born.

Four months later, Masvidal was back at it again, this time knocking out Ben Askren in a record-setting five seconds with a flying knee at UFC 239 (video). But, if you ask Askren, Masvidal’s popularity has a lot to do with with what he did for him, as “Funky” claims his trash talk made their fight the most-anticipated bout on the stacked card, above the championship double header that featured both the male and female GOAT’s.

So after Askren advised “Gamebred” to give him props for upping his cred and bank account, Masvidal gave in … sort of.

“To thank him, I thank everybody that steps in there and fights,” Masvidal said in a recent interview courtesy of MMA Fighting. “So he can get the general thank you. But he didn’t do nothing for me, I did everything for that moment. That moment was me doing that. That’s not the first time I knocked somebody out with a flying knee. It won’t be the last either,” he said.

“It was just at the right time at the best possible scenario. So in a way, yeah, I guess, thanks to Ben’s chin for being in collision with my f*cking knee. So thank you to your f*cking chin, Ben.”

As for why Masvidal seems to be late to the popularity party, it all has to do with his quiet nature. Yes, Masvidal is rather reserved, he says, as he isn’t the type who likes to look for attention.

“I’m also kind of quiet, so I think if reporters show up and nobody asks me shit, I won’t say shit,” Masvidal said. “I’m not Ben Askren or a lot of these fighters. I’ve never called a reporter like, ‘hey, I want to be on your show, book me,’ you know? You call me,” he added.

“And not because I feel you have to call me, but it’s just the way I am in real life. I don’t go around making conversation, I just kind of stick to myself. People engage in conversation I’ll respond back and engage in the conversation, but maybe that’s part of the reason why. I didn’t get a lot of questions asked earlier in my career, I guess. But I’ve always been the same guy, more or less,” he concluded.

Now Masvidal has everyone calling him for a soundbite at every turn.