Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal recently signed with Strikeforce and is set to make his return to the promotion this Saturday, March 5th, when he faces undefeated rising lightweight star Billy Evangelista at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Masvidal, known for his brutal striking, fought in Strikeforce previously, garnering an undefeated record of 2-0. Now, he returns to the promotion with a goal: titles.
I spoke with him about his desire to win belts in the divisions he competes in and his recent loss to Paul Daley, as well as his fight this coming weekend.
Phil Lanides: You’ve fought at both 155 lbs. and 170 lbs. Do you prefer one weight class over the other?
Jorge Masvidal: Either weight class is fine for me. Obviously, I’m not a 170-pounder at all. There are 170-pounders out there that dwarf me. But with my speed and my power, I think can do what I want to do. So I plan to compete in both divisions.
PL: You train with American Top Team, and they are known for producing good all-around fighters. Your standup game is what stands out in regards to your fighting style, but in your last fight with Paul Daley, you featured a lot of takedowns. Are you working more on your ground game?
JM: My ground game, yes, I’m working on it. But I’ve always worked on my wrestling, both offensively and defensively. I don’t use it in my fights a lot because my corner doesn’t tell me to, or for whatever reason. But wrestling has always been a strong point in my game. Not as strong as I want to have it, but wrestling has always been a big, big part of my game, just because I know my opponents are looking to take me down usually.
PL: Speaking of Daley, that was a tough loss for you. Is a rematch with him something that’s on your mind?
JM: Yeah, it is. I felt I won the first fight fair and square. If we do a rematch, it’ll be a different story. I took that fight on about three-and-a-half weeks' notice, and I was in okay shape because I was getting ready for a future fight. I wasn’t in the best shape of my life or anything.
I’m not making excuses, because I felt I won the fight, so it’s not like I need to make excuses anyway, but I feel like if I had six to eight weeks to prepare for Daley, it would be a different fight. I’m going to stand there with them. Daley’s good, he’s one of the best strikers in our sport, period, but it’ll be a different fight.
PL: I hope we get to see that. Let’s turn to Billy Evangelista. He’s a good all-around fighter, and he’s undefeated. Do you feel he’s a threat to you?
JM: Anybody’s a threat when you get in the cage. Anybody can catch you with a punch. As long they’re the fight, they’re bringing that willingness, I take them seriously. Whether it’s Billy or some Joe Schmo, I’m always going to train. Obviously for some guys you’ll get more prepared in different ways. But Billy’s a threat, and I’m going to eliminate that threat.
PL: Do you have a prediction for the fight?
JM: Yeah...me kicking his butt every single round.
PL: Do you have a message for Billy? How about the fans that will see you fight in Ohio this weekend?
JM: To Billy, not really. Just get ready for your first loss. To all the fans in Ohio, I’ve been there before and had a great time. I’m looking to put on a great show and give it all. Hopefully the fans will enjoy my performance.
Special thanks to MMAJunkie for the use of their photo.