Jorge Masvidal has always been a well-rounded fighter. But when faced with the division’s most relentless wrestler, he was found wanting.
Masvidal cut a frustrated, disappointed figure at the UFC 272 post-fight press conference, where he revealed his dual disappointment as he tried to come to terms not just with his loss to his bitter rival Colby Covington, but also with the manner of his defeat.
Masvidal was outwrestled by Covington throughout the five-round encounter at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and, even though “Gamebred” had some success in stopping Covington’s takedowns, his opponent’s relentless approach meant he simply would not be denied as he earned a landslide win on the judges’ scorecards.
“To lose to a b***h like that, I mean all he does is talk about people’s kids, religions, nations – obviously nobody wants to lose to a coward like that,” Masvidal stated.
“I felt like I lost the wrestling exchanges. The fight, whatever. I know I did damage. I think I dropped him twice. It just sucks.
“F*****g flat in the wrestling and he jumped on it and he was able to take me down. There was like one or two times where I felt him getting really tired on the takedowns, and all of a sudden, he got that takedown. I was like stuffing the second and third attempt. Then, on the fourth one, he got me down. He’s got good control once he’s on top.”
The one big moment for Masvidal came in the fourth rounds, when he connected with a peach of a right hand that dropped the former interim champion. But, rather than swarm his man with follow-up strikes, Masvidal strangely stayed back. It was a decision that he said cost him a chance at turning the fight in his favor.
“I didn’t pounce after I dropped him,” Masvidal admitted.
“I wasn’t surprised that he bounced up. I was just surprised that I didn’t go and take his head off.
“I thought he was going to shoot immediately on me, so I was just thinking of wrong s**t instead of just going to take his head off. I was tired. He was tired and hurt.
“That was my chance right there. That was that window of like five or six seconds to give it all I’ve got and make a sprint and make a big change.
“Maybe I could have made that round 10-8, 10-7, who knows? But I didn’t take that opening.”
After suffering defeat in a bout he viewed as a must-win matchup, Masvidal admitted he needs to go back to the drawing board to better equip himself with the skills needed to succeed in a wrestler-dominated weight class.
“I think the only thing that makes sense is for me to get in the gym, me to get into track and field and just get after it,” he said.
“Get in great shape, see where my headspace is at and then three or four months from now, make that decision who’s next. For right now, I want to clear the cobwebs up. It’s not that I’m hurt or nothing but to lose to a punk like that, it sucks.
“If I fight another wrestler, I need to make sure I can deal with this thing. It’s always been tough fights for me with the wrestlers. Thinking ‘is he going to shoot on me?’ so I don’t open up as much on my feet as I should, and then I get in big scrambles and I get out-scrambled. I need to fix the wrestling.”