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Jorge Masvidal Doesn’t Know ‘Who The F–k’ Al Iaquinta Is
With five wins in six UFC bouts, former Strikeforce lightweight title challenger Jorge Masvidal should, by all logical accounts, be on the cusp of some big name bouts in one of the most talented divisions in all of MMA.
But heading into his co-main event scrap with rising talent Al Iaquinta at April’s UFC Fight Night 63 from Fairfax, Virginia, the No. 13-ranked “Gamebred” isn’t exactly happy with how the UFC has handled his career. In a recent interview with MMA Junkie, the wily vet said that while Iaquinta is no doubt talented, he received a big step up for the fight while Masvidal believes he was forced to take a step back:
“He’s taking a couple steps up and I’m taking a few steps back,” Masvidal said. “The kid’s talented and all, but I’ve got no business fighting this guy, you know? People are making a big deal because he beat Joe Lauzon. Welcome to the club, man. I kicked that dude’s ass eight years ago.”
Masvidal may have a point there, and it’s understandable to see him want only big fights going forward. He had one lined up against former lightweight champion Benson Henderson at UFC Fight Night 63, but his biggest-ever bout fell apart when “Smooth” stepped up to save UFC Fight Night 60’s main event by taking on Brandon Thatch at welterweight.
That left Masvidal out in the cold, a feeling that he’s all-too-familiar with after repeated unsuccessful attempts to get a fight with No. 3-ranked Donald Cerrone, who recently beat Henderson with a controversial unanimous decision at January’s UFC Fight Night 59. Masvidal is baffled at how the UFC has supposedly kept that fight out of his grasp despite both parties agreeing to it on numerous occasions:
“He agreed and I agreed a while back,” Masvidal said. “Usually if you’ve got two ranked fighters that want to fight each other – especially guys like me and him that are just going to fight – usually it happens. And then, twice when we agree because we both have mutual opponents fall out, now we can’t get the fight going. I don’t know what’s going on. Somebody that makes the higher decisions doesn’t want that fight going down for some reason.”
Of course that’s his personal point of view, but it could definitely be argued that Masvidal deserves some bigger fights. Perhaps the UFC views him as a spoiler of sorts; a tough veteran fighter who has the skills to beat anyone on any given day but isn’t all that exciting or much of a driving revenue source.
He believes that most Strikeforce imports at his level have already gotten their marquee match-up, and that his is long overdue:
“Everybody from Strikeforce coming over got a marquee matchup,” Masvidal said. “Everybody from the bottom feeders to the decent guys to the A-level guys. And, maybe I wasn’t a champ – I fought for the title, wasn’t a champ – but I wasn’t a bottom feeder. I thought I should have gotten a marquee matchup long ago. I’m seven fights in now and I’m still fighting dudes who I don’t even know who the f-ck he is. I’ve never seen this dude fight in my life.”
That’s a bit dramatic, as most MMA fans and media probably know “who the f-ck” Iaquinta after his recent three-fight win streak.
It’s probably acceptable that Masvidal is not happy at his current plight, but he can’t let his guard down against someone who he views as a lesser opponent in Iaquinta, or his words and efforts will be all for naught as he goes back down the crowded 155-pound ladder.
Hopefully he knows that, but his feelings on the subject might suggest otherwise. Masvidal believes that he’s been made to fight only The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) veterans, and he isn’t too happy about it:
“I feel like I’ve gotta fight every dude that stepped foot on ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ If you were in ‘The Ultimate Fighter’? I’ve gotta fight your ass. For some reason, that’s the title they’re giving me: ‘The Ultimate Fighter Destroyer.’ But f-ck it; it’s easy paychecks. I ain’t complaining because it’s keeping food on the table. But it’s just not the competition I’m looking for.”
All “Gamebred” can do to improve his situation is keep winning, yet it’s tough to call Iaquinta easy money in any sense of the term.
Will the technically precise and possibly underrated Masvidal be able to put his emotions aside long enough to derail Iaquinta’s hype train, or are his thoughts in the wrong place heading into what could be the most pivotal bout of his lengthy career?