Justin Gaethje | Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images
Jorge Masvidal was the UFC’s first ‘BMF’ champion, and he wouldn’t mind getting a shot to win it back someday.
The recently retired Masvidal spoke to ESPN about his future plans, which include promoting his upcoming Gamebred Bareknuckle event on Sept. 8 that is headlined by a bare-knuckle MMA rematch between former UFC heavyweight champions Junior dos Santos and Fabricio Werdum.
Masvidal was also asked for his thoughts on what newly crowned BMF champion Justin Gaethje should do with the belt, and volunteered his services if Gaethje plans to put it on the line.
“I think he should defend it against me, if you ask me,” Masvidal said. “That’s what should happen if I was to come back to the sport. That’s a big if, but I never knock off coming back to fighting because I love fighting. I love fighting. It’s my favorite pastime, it’s my favorite sport, it’s my way of life. So, I can never say I’m not going to fight».
“But I think Gaethje should just stay active really. Fight. Keep fighting. Stay competing, stay fighting the world’s best, because that’s what a bad motherf***** is supposed to do, take them all on. I never said, ‘I’m not fighting this guy because he’s a high-level grappler or this guy because he’s a f****** better striker than me.’ One or all, they’re all the same to me. Gaethje pretty much has that attitude, that’s why he’s a bad motherf*****. He’s not ducking nobody. That guy literally will fight anybody. A wrestler, striker, jiu-jitsu guy, he takes them all, and that’s a big requirement.”
Masvidal, 38, added that he is no longer in the USADA testing pool, so if he were to return to the UFC, he would likely require a mandatory six months of testing before being allowed to compete again. He’s not planning to come back, but also isn’t ruling out the possibility.
“It’s not something that I would do yet or that I want to do yet,” Masvidal said. “It’s always in the back of my mind, like, man, I miss fighting. But right now I want to get these promotions off the ground. I do have some news that’s huge, but I can’t announce it yet.”
At UFC 291, Gaethje became the second-ever BMF champion with a stunning second-round head-kick knockout of Dustin Poirier, a training partner of Masvidal’s. As the inaugural champion, Masvidal had the honor of putting the title around Gaethje’s waist after the fight.
While one may assume that created an awkward situation, Masvidal insists he has enormous respect for Gaethje and, if anything, he was more in shock at how the bout ended.
“Never, no diss or nothing to the homie,” Gaethje said. “He did his thing. I thought he extra did his thing because in the first round he got his ass whooped, he got rocked twice; right at the end of it Dustin caught him clean by the fence and then Dustin didn’t jump on him because — I talked to him after — he was thinking, ‘I’ll just it build up, Gaethje’s wild, he’s still very fresh and strong,’ so he kind of took that time off, and in that one minute Gaethje adjusted and pulled it out. Pulled the head kick out from out of nowhere.
“Great setup, great fakes, it was frickin’ amazing. I thought we were going to have that one in the bag, so I couldn’t even believe it. As I was handing him the belt I was like, ‘Holy smokes, I thought my boy had this in the bag.’ Hat’s off to Gaethje and his camp. If they were to fight again, I think it would go the complete opposite way, and if they were to fight again, who knows? I think ‘DP’ is the better fighter, it just wasn’t his night that night.”