Jorge Masvidal can give credit where credit is due.
Despite accepting a UFC 251 main event bout against welterweight king Kamaru Usman on just six days’ notice, Masvidal had no desire to make excuses about his unanimous decision loss on Saturday night.
Instead, the first and only “BMF” champion paid homage to Usman on a job well done while also putting the spotlight on his own shortcomings.
“I hate coming up short,” Masvidal said at the UFC 251 post-fight press conference. “I’m not going to make no excuses. He was the better man tonight. There were some areas where I didn’t give him enough credit, and there were some areas I felt with a better training camp I could definitely surpass him. I think I showed a lot of my wrestling on six days’ notice that I’m not too easy to take down and to hold down on the ground.
“I made a lot of mistakes. I tried to fight in spots, since I didn’t feel my gas tank was the greatest. He fought in better spots. Right when I’d get loose and open up, he was able to clinch me up and take it back into his world. So I’m not going to take anything away from him. He won fair and square. I’ll do whatever it takes to get back in front of that man and compete again and get my hand raised.”
Nothing was ideal for Masvidal heading into fight week after traveling halfway around the world, adjusting to a time difference and then suffering through a tough weight cut just days before he had to face Usman.
Considering all the obstacles leading into UFC 251, Masvidal could easily chalk up his loss to all the different circumstances facing him. But he didn’t want to take anything away from Usman for getting the job done.
“The weight cut was tough like everybody knows,” Masvidal said. “I had a little bit of weight to cut but I’m not going to sit here and make excuses. He won. I gambled the dice on myself. I knew I didn’t have the greatest gas tank coming in but I’m still a dangerous man. Six days, one day, six weeks, so hats off to him. We’ll do it again.
“He knows that I’m no pushover. I just feel like I let a lot of people down. It was a sh*tty performance.”
Masvidal was definitely impressed by Usman’s performance, especially with the work he did inside the clinch where he was able to control the majority of the fight.
Prior to setting foot in the octagon, Masvidal felt like had Usman figured out but it wasn’t a puzzle he was able to solve over five rounds. While he’s happy to work his way back to title contention again, Masvidal knows what he did wrong this time around and what he needs to do to earn a different result in a rematch.
“I’ve got a good formula in my head though on how to beat him the next time,” Masvidal said. “I thought I had the formula.
“Now I know the formula — it takes a lot of gas tank, a lot of conditioning, a lot more wrestling rounds with high level guys. So I definitely got a square root on how to beat this guy.”
Because he lost, Masvidal wants nothing more than another opportunity to fight Usman.
That said, he’s putting the bad blood with Usman behind and he promises the next time they meet, the fight will only be about competition and not some personal grudge that needs to be settled.
“The competitor in me, no I want to take everybody’s head off,” Masvidal explained. “I want to take his head off even more now that he beat me. I just feel like me and him now we don’t have to promote the next fight like that. We don’t have to talk about each other’s religion or ethnicities or nothing like that. He said some things that weren’t necessary and I’m sure I said some things that probably weren’t the best.
“I just think about the future generations. You don’t have to promote fights like that to sell pay-per-views. I heard that this card did great anyways but I feel it doesn’t have to be promoted like that, especially for the younger guys coming up. They don’t need to think you always need to talk sh*t to sell a pay-per-view or disrespect a man’s religion or anything like that. We’ll do it again.”