Should Jorge Masvidal Take on Conor McGregor or Kamaru Usman Next?

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2020

The world is Jorge Masvidal's right now.
The world is Jorge Masvidal's right now.Gregory Payan/Associated Press

Oh, what a difference a year makes.

Last year, Jorge Masvidal was probably holed up somewhere watching Brian De Palma's Scarface starring Al Pacino for the 600th time in his life.

But this year? 

Masvidal is coming off one of the more admirable nine-month runs in recent UFC history, and the UFC's first-ever BMF champion is now rightfully sitting in the position of being able to plot his next move as one of the newest and biggest stars on the UFC's impressive roster. 

But which of the incredibly awesome matchups on Masvidal's mind these days should the 35-year-old pursue next?

Might it be Conor McGregor?

If anything, maybe Masvidal could wait a couple of weeks until after McGregor is done with his upcoming UFC 246 headliner against Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone on Jan. 18 in Las Vegas. 

While most would agree McGregor should still be elite enough at this point in his career to dispose of the 36-year-old Cerrone, the plain truth of the matter is that McGregor hasn't won a fight since defeating Eddie Alvarez way back in November 2016 at UFC 205. 

Do you realize how long ago that was? Barack Obama was still president of the United States. 

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Since then, McGregor lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr. via Round 10 knockout inside a boxing ring in August 2017 and tapped out against Khabib Nurmagomedov in Round 4 in October 2018 at UFC 229.

Heck, the last time I saw McGregor throw a fist at anyone was in that video of him punching an old man in a Dublin bar, which surfaced via TMZ Sports last summer. 

But while Masvidal might say he wants the McGregor fight because of all the huge business he envisions it might do, he's most assuredly doing that with the idea that McGregor gets past Cerrone in two weeks. Because if Cerrone pulls off the shocking upset at UFC 246, McGregor would basically turn into a has-been overnight.

That's not intended to be a knock on Cerrone. The UFC's real-life cowboy is one tough dude, and he's generally considered to be one of the most loved and supported UFC fighters on the planet. 

But Cerrone enters UFC 246 on a two-fight losing streak himself. He wasn't given the chance to fight the UFC's biggest cash cow right now because people thought he might win. He's basically only there to make McGregor look good again. 

The last time I saw Cerrone in a fight he was getting folded in half by Justin Gaethje, a fighter some people feel got snubbed by not getting the McGregor comeback fight himself, and one most people would probably love to see get a title shot soon. 

But should Gaethje jump over Masvidal for a crack at Kamaru Usman's UFC welterweight championship?

No freaking way.

Masvidal's stunning wins in just nine months last year over Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz make him the guy at welterweight who basically should get to fight whoever he wants. 

It's not just that he won all those fights inside the distance, either. It's that he did it when most people thought he was probably too far on the wrong side of his mid-30's to be any better than the 13-loss fighter he had already been over the course of his career. 

But Masvidal found the magic, so now he deserves the biggest and best fights.

That includes seeing Masvidal trying to usurp Usman for the title, which would surely be a massively violent spectacle of destruction.

Usman also had one heck of a year in 2019. "The Nigerian Nightmare" beat the brakes off of Tyrone Woodley over five rounds in March at UFC 235 and followed that up in impressive fashion by doing even better against Colby Covington in December at UFC 245.

Usman stopped Covington in the fifth round in an epic slugfest to secure his standing as the best 170-pound fighter in the world that night. 

If Masvidal wants to find the shortest and straightest path to turning his BMF belt into the real thing at welterweight, which would be huge since he's never won a UFC championship beyond that one-off BMF belt, Usman would for sure be the way for Masvidal to go.

But something tells me Masvidal might be somewhere right now thinking all this over for himself.

For all I know, he's huddled up at his place watching Scarface for the 601st time and thinking about how he can turn 2020 into an even better year than the last.

I can almost see it now on the screen inside my mind.

"All I have in this world is my balls and my word, and I don't break them for no one," Pacino exclaims in his stunning performance as fictional Miami drug lord Tony Montana. 

Masvidal laughs out loud at the line in a way that makes you wonder for just a moment if he might be angry. But then you feel calm again as he stares off into space and mutters to himself the name of the one fighter you were really hoping he'd fight next.

Then comes the happiness of knowing Masvidal only speaks something when he definitely means it.

Masvidal can pretty much fight whoever he wants these days. He'll let us all know who that is when he decides. 

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