- The UFC commentator and analyst Jon Anik would love to see Jorge Masvidal and Conor McGregor fight.
- Masvidal was recently dominated by Kamaru Usman during a UFC 251 chess match on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi.
- There has since been great speculation as to whom Masvidal could fight next considering the UFC boss Dana White lauded the Floridian fighter as a “big star” despite the defeat.
- Anik said a rematch with Nate Diaz would be great, but the magnitude of a mega-fight with McGregor would be unbelievable.
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FIGHT ISLAND – A Conor McGregor mega-fight would be UFC analyst Jon Anik’s preference for Jorge Masvidal’s next bout.
Masvidal was dominated by the UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in a five-round chess match at UFC 251 on July 12 at “Fight Island,” – also known as Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island.
The Floridian fighter was a late replacement for the original opponent Gilbert Burns, who had to withdraw from the competition on seven days notice after testing positive for the coronavirus.
The UFC scrambled to recruit Masvidal, but the battle-hardened striker was out-pointed by Usman, who employed foot stomps, grappling against the fence, and smothering on the mat to cruise to victory.
There has been great speculation as to who Masvidal could fight next, particularly in light of reports by The Athletic which stated that the July 12 pay-per-view was sold to 1.3 million households in the United States – a figure that makes it one of the best-selling combat sports events of all time.
“The world is Jorge Masvidal’s oyster right now,” Jon Anik, a UFC analyst and commentator told Insider at a media event on “Fight Island” last week.
“Any fight that Jorge Masvidal wants is at his disposal right now.”
Despite the defeat, Masvidal remains a valuable asset for the UFC. Last year, Insider ranked him third in a list of best boxing and mixed martial arts fighters of the year, because of his victories over Darren Till, Ben Askren, and Nate Diaz – a win which crowned him the “baddest mother f—–” in the game.
“I certainly have a healthy appetite for the Nate Diaz rematch. I think Conor McGregor would probably be my first choice, because of the magnitude of that fight,” Anik said.
“That’s north of two million pay-per-view buys given the early returns on the number we did at UFC 251 but Masvidal has really bet on himself, and cashed.
“So all of the big fights are available to him,” Anik said. “It’s just going to be a matter of what [UFC matchmaker] Sean Selby and [UFC president] Dana White choose to do.”
Jorge Masvidal is ‘a big star,’ Dana White said
If it were up to Masvidal, there is only one opponent he has his eye on – Usman, again.
Masvidal told ESPN MMA that he is determined to put himself in a position where he can fight for the welterweight championship one more time, and would prioritise that over a lucrative bout against the likes of McGregor.
“If it’s up to me, of course, Usman right away,” he said.
“I don’t care if they offer me a bigger fight or not, I would like to fight Usman.
“You can tell me the McGregor fight would make ‘XYZ’ dollars, the biggest pay-per-view in history, right? It’s not about money … I want that damn belt. I’m stubborn.”
Speaking at a media event during the UFC’s residency on Yas Island, the UFC boss White said the welterweight championship landscape will move on to the No.1 challenger, Burns, even though Masvidal was telling him: “‘I’ll be back, I’ll be back, I want another shot’.”
White said: “I think that Gilbert Burns and Kamaru Usman is going to be a really, really good fight.”
However, he also confirmed that Masvidal is “a big star” for the company and the sport.
There has been no dialogue with McGregor since he “retired”
McGregor dominates the list of best-selling pay-per-view shows in UFC history, and is the sport’s most famous participant, globally.
But the lightweight and welterweight campaigner has not fought since a 170-pound thrashing of Donald Cerrone at UFC 246 in Las Vegas earlier this year.
Though he said he wanted to fight thrice in 2020, McGregor abruptly retired from the fight game in June, citing boredom, tiredness, and a frustration at being offered fights which did not excite him.
It appeared to be a stark contrast to just a few months prior, where White had claimed McGregor had been texting him to say he wanted to compete on “Fight Island.”
But during the UFC’s residency here, White was asked whether there had been any dialogue since June.
“Nope,” White said. “None.”