After his five-second knockout of Ben Askren in July, it was title shot or bust for Jorge Masvidal — that is until Nate Diaz returned to the cage with a dominant win over Anthony Pettis.
After Diaz’s unanimous decision win at UFC 241 on Saturday in Anaheim, he called out fellow welterweight contender Masvidal, who was in attendance at the event. Masvidal was shown on the broadcast smiling and pumping his fist as if he was interested. Since then, the idea of Diaz vs. Masvidal happening has garnered a very positive reaction from fans on social media.
Masvidal’s manager Abraham Kawa said Monday that he briefly talked to UFC brass Saturday night about the potential matchup. According to Kawa, a fight with Diaz, who’s one of the biggest stars in the promotion, would be the one exception to Masvidal’s desire to only fight current welterweight champion Kamaru Usman next.
“Everybody has to look at it from a financial standpoint for these guys,” Kawa told Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. “They are prize fighters; they’re not fighting just to say, ‘Hey, I’m a UFC fighter.’ They’re fighting for a paycheck. If the biggest paycheck at the time comes with the title, then why would [Masvidal] take a fight outside of that? Now, if a bigger paycheck presents itself, then I think the title becomes moot. I don’t think the title at that point is the biggest fight.”
Masvidal, who is rapidly nearing super-stardom following his viral stoppage of Askren at UFC 239, said earlier this month that if he wasn’t fighting for the title in his next bout, his paycheck would have to “exceed expectations by a large number.” Kawa is confident the Diaz pairing would fit that bill.
“I think both of these guys will go on and put on a show for everybody, and I think that’s what we all want,” Kawa said. “I’m a fight fan at heart before I’m anything else, and if you’re a fight fan, this is like Christmas for everybody.”
Kawa said he plans to meet with UFC brass later this week to discuss the potential Diaz fight.
Kawa said Masvidal, who lives in southern Florida, would like the fight to happen in Diaz’s backyard of California, but would settle with UFC 245, which takes place Dec. 14 in Las Vegas. There are no UFC cards currently scheduled for California by the end of 2019.
“[Masvidal] looks at this fight more like the (Darren) Till (fight); he’s going to go into someone else’s backyard, and he prefers that over anything else,” Kawa said. “If Vegas is the closest he can get to Cali, then Vegas.”