Jorge Masvidal will have a huge opportunity to regain any divisional momentum he lost in a recent split-decision defeat to Demian Maia when he takes on former UFC welterweight title challenger Stephen Thompson tonight (Sat., Nov. 4, 2017) at UFC 217 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Despite losing to current champion Tyron Woodley back at UFC 209 earlier this year, “Wonderboy” remains one of the best fighters on the 170-pound roster. So even though Masvidal is one of the most confident fighters you’ll ever come across, the 32-year-old veteran needs to understand the dangers he may encounter at UFC 217 opposite a striking wizard like Thompson.
“I got respect for his skillset and his heart,” Masvidal said during a recent episode of BJ Penn Radio. “He definitely took some shots against [Tyron] Woodley in both fights, that a lesser man would’ve gave into. He fought through that. Through the guillotine, through the right hands, the abuse that he took, you know? I don’t think he’s a walk in the park or nothing like that. He has a skillset, but come Saturday, I’m gonna devastate him.”
If Masvidal, who has a 4-3 record since returning to the division in 2015, is able to starch Thompson at UFC 217, he’ll be one step closer to fighting for a UFC title. While nothing is guaranteed in today’s mixed martial arts (MMA), “Gamebred” would be extremely surprised if the promotion did not award him a shot at gold with a masterful performance against “Wonderboy.”
“Sh*t man, that’s Twilight Zone sh*t,” Masvidal said. “I don’t see anybody else but me, being in line after this fight. If somebody else was to get the call, it’d be real left field type sh*t to me. Twilight Zone. I think I’ve proven myself in this division, and not just that but, the action that I bring to every fight. People like to watch me fight because there is a certain value you can put on that you know? You can invite your friends, ‘Hey, let’s watch Gamebred fight, because it’s actually gonna be a fight.’ There is gonna be violence, there is gonna be technique involved and there is gonna be a lot of grit.”
As entertaining as it would be to see Masvidal take on an athletic force like Woodley, “Gamebred” must first solve the puzzle that is Thompson. And even if he can become the first fighter to ever finish “Wonderboy” inside of the cage, other worthy title contenders, such as former divisional king Robbie Lawler and former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, could throw a wrench into his plans.
So for now, Masvidal must focus on Thompson and worry about his place in the welterweight pecking order later on.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 217 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.