Jorge Masvidal is entering one of the biggest fights of his career as he tries to end a three-fight losing skid when he meets fellow welterweight contender Gilbert Burns at UFC 287 this April.
Masvidal, who remains one of the promotion’s biggest stars, has never lost more than two fights in a row in his career before this current streak. This spans 51 mixed martial arts (MMA) fights dating all the way back to 2003. It’s pretty impressive, but it makes Masvidal’s ongoing struggles inside of the Octagon even more alarming.
While two of Masvidal’s last three Octagon loses have come in title fights against former champion Kamaru Usman not many fighters can drop four UFC fights in a row and live to tell about it. Should Masvidal come up short against “Durinho” this April it will leave him a vulnerable position as a 38-year-old veteran. Masvidal isn’t expected to be released by UFC with a loss or another like that, but he would almost certainly completely out of contention heading into the second half of 2023.
Former UFC double champion and current UFC color commentator, Daniel Cormier, believes one more loss for Masvidal could send him back to being labeled a journeyman. Remember, before his 2019 breakout campaign that culminated with the “BMF” title Masvidal wasn’t looked at as a top draw or someone who could sell a pay-per-view card. “Gamebred” ultimately turned into that type of fighter, but it all hangs in the balance as the veteran has not won a fight since his “BMF” clash with Nate Diaz over three years ago.
“I can’t imagine that he accepted this fight based on Burns beating Neil Magny the way that he did. So, for me, I wonder what made him accept this fight now… The timing to me, why fight him now?” Cormier said on the DC & RC podcast. “You go back and you look at who he was prior [to 2019] this dude was a journeyman. When he got to the elite of the elite, he got put back into a category where he just hasn’t proven or shown that he can compete with the elite. Not many people will say that in this sport, but I’ll say it.”
“Masvidal’s fighting Gilbert Burns in a situation where he’s number 11, a five-to-one underdog. If he wins, he exceeds expectations. If he doesn’t, it’s something that was supposed to happen,” Cormier continued. “It’s must-win. There is no doubt about it… You win or you go back to the place prior. You go back to that place where you’re fighting guys like Al Iaquinta and guys like Michael Chiesa… Not the Colby Covingtons, the Kamaru Usmans, and the Gilbert Burns’ of the world… He’s gotta get it done… It’s do or die.”
This may be a brutally honest assessment of Masvidal’s current state as a top UFC contender, but “DC” isn’t wrong. It will be hard for Masvidal to stick around as this “BMF” champ that has lost four-fights in a row against the very best at 170 pounds. The fighters that Masvidal beat in 2019 to create his current stock value are either retired from fighting (Ben Askren), no longer part of the promotion (Diaz), or 1-5 in their last six UFC appearances (Darren Till).
So for the lack of a better phrase it is in fact “do or die” for Masvidal at UFC 287. Do you agree?
Let’s hear it!