Wrestling and Hollywood superstar Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson recently spoke to Megan Olivi of ESPN MMA to talk about the debut of ‘Fight Island’ and his friend Jorge Masvidal; who challenges Kamaru Usman for the UFC welterweight title in the main event of tonight’s UFC 251.
Most of Johnson’s interview with the UFC-partnered broadcaster was spent talking up the promotion’s audacity in securing Yas Island, a man-made peninsula in Abu Dhabi, UAE, as a spot to hold international fights during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
However, some of the chat did zero in on UFC 251’s main event.
“Jorge’s my boy, I’ve got a lot of love and respect for Jorge,” said Johnson, who presented Masivdal with the BMF belt after he beat Nate Diaz at UFC 244 last year. “I liked him a lot. I liked his team a lot.”
Johnson also revealed that he is on good terms with Usman, too — having struck up a friendship over text messages. The WWE hall of famer called Usman “a beast” and expressed a lot of respect for Usman’s collegiate wrestling career.
Though he didn’t make any kind of pick for the main event, Johnson did offer some advise to Masvidal on the eve of the biggest fight of his career. However, Johnson prefaced his advise with an admission that he’s not exactly the best source of MMA wisdom.
“Considering I have had zero fights in the Octagon, here’s what Jorge Masvidal has to do...” joked the Hobbs & Shaw star. “While I haven’t been in the Octagon, I’ve been in some big professional wrestling matches with a big global eye on me, so I think what Masvidal has to do is quiet the noise around him.”
“Because the moment he took this fight, he got thrust back into this spotlight and got pulled in a thousand different directions and everyone turns to you, their energy turns to you for answers,” continued Johnson.
“So I think he has to just quiet the noise ... I think that he’s got to quiet the noise and just remember that Jorge Masvidal needs to do exactly what he is going to do, which is fight his ass off. If he does these things everything else has to fall into place.”
Helping Masivdal in heeding Johnson’s advice is the fact that there will be no crowd noise at Yas Island. The event, like so many others in the past weeks, will be held without fans as states across the world continue to try and contain COVID-19. At this time of writing the virus has claimed over 560,000 lives worldwide, including over 136,000 in the US.