Jorge Masvidal returns to action at UFC 287 on April 8, 2023, co-headlining the Alex Pereira vs. Israel Adesanya 2-led pay-per-view (PPV) event in a battle against Gilbert Burns.
It’s a fight both Masvidal and Burns have wanted for a while, and now the contract is signed and the bout is locked in. It’s hard to find anyone unhappy with the guaranteed war we’re about to see ... unless you count fans who were hoping “Gamebred” would return against Conor McGregor.
In the newest episode of The MMA Hour, Masvidal explained the reason(s) he wasn’t waiting around for “The Notorious.”
“I want Conor, but Conor doesn’t want me,” he said. “It sucks, you know? He just doesn’t want it, every time the UFC has brought it up, he shuts it down. I don’t know why. I think I’m bigger, I’m quicker than him. And we both know I hit harder than him. So I get it. It’s not the best for him or his brand, you know? Not only am I going to beat the f—ing brakes off of him, but I’m going to do it in a way that’s not good for his brand. I’m going to do it on my feet, you know?”
As for the Gilbert Burns fight, Masvidal said he was fine with anyone who wasn’t a wrestler.
“I didn’t want to fight another heavy wrestling-oriented individual, just because that’s been my last three, four fights out,” Masvidal said. “I wanted to fight somebody different, like a grappler or a striker. Not necessarily somebody wrestling-heavy, you know? So, I thought Gilbert was the best choice. Someone who comes to fight, whether it’s on the ground, he’s trying to finish it. On the feet, he’s trying to finish it. It’s just going to make for a good fight and that’s what I want.
“Me, I’ll keep working on my wrestling, getting my wrestling better during all this time because I’m going to have to face those guys at some point or another again,” Masvidal continued. “So, it’s just been work, man.”
Masvidal also explained why we haven’t seen him compete since his loss to Colby Covington in March 2022?
“I won’t say the exact injuries, but injuries,” he said. “And felonies, and lawsuits. And a bunch of crazy s—. I just didn’t want to go into a fight with all these outside f—ing bulls— on my head, you know what I’m saying? So I said let me just get all my ducks in a row, let me get a couple of things in place, let me get my health right, my conditioning a little better.
“All this time I’ve just been training, and certain things like maybe my conditioning hasn’t been the best in the past,” he continued. “Trying to get a little better here, a little better there. Get rid of those storm clouds above my f—ing head before I step back in that ring.”
While Masvidal’s attention is currently all on Burns at UFC 287, he did admit he was keeping a close eye on UFC Welterweight champion, Leon Edwards. He and Edwards had a 2019 altercation in London where “Gamebred” gave Edwards the infamous “three piece and a soda.”
If both men win in their next fight, he feels like that match up has to get made.
“If you ask me, 100 percent I think it happens,” he said. “I just think it’s the way it’s meant to be, you know? All lined up. And then from there I got a lot of other fights, you know? But we’ll talk about that bridge when I get to that. But why not believe in that? And if it doesn’t happen, whatever, f— it. I’ll still train my ass off for whoever’s next, you know?
“One more fight, two more fights, however many fights, I just want to put myself in the best possible way to win, I want to stack all the tips on my side,” he concluded. “I’ve been doing a lot of things to help do that before I even sign a contract against somebody.”