Jorge Masvidal is still not sold on UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman as a striker.
Despite suffering a violent knockout loss to Usman in their UFC 261 rematch last April, Masvidal (35-16 MMA, 12-9 UFC) said he was comfortable in the striking exchanges before a blistering right hand put him to sleep in Round 2.
“Oh, I know he’s beatable,” Masvidal said on a recent episode of “IMPAULSIVE” with Logan Paul. “There’s not a man alive that’s not beatable. Taking the second round out of it, the first round after I got up, I started landing some big shots on him. The second knee – the first knee I threw, he took me down. The second knee I hit him with right here on the chest, and my thigh hit him in the jaw, wobbled him a little bit. On the feet, he’s nothing special. He might have got me, but he’s nothing special on the feet. He’s not like a legit striker on the feet yet.”
Usman (20-1 MMA, 15-0 UFC), who’s known for his wrestling, has shown major improvements in his hands ever since he started working with coach Trevor Wittman, who also trains UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas. “The Nigerian Nightmare” has scored knockouts of Colby Covington, Gilbert Burns and Masvidal in three of his five title defenses.
In their first outing against at UFC 251, Usman predominantly wrestled short-notice replacement Masvidal for a unanimous decision win, a performance he wasn’t happy with himself. However, Masvidal admits that he was surprised with Usman’s change of approach when it came to their rematch.
“The first fight, just put me up against the fence and I wasn’t able to f*ckin’ let go,” Masvidal said. “The second fight, I’m thinking it’s a takedown after takedown after takedown. I was doing well stuffing the takedowns, and then boom, switched it up on me. So I definitely feel the consistent problem that I have throughout my career is my wrestling is not 100 percent there yet.”
After two straight losses to Usman, Masvidal fought another decorated wrestler in former best friend-turned foe Covington at UFC 272 in March. Despite rocking Covington in the fight, Masvidal was controlled on the ground for the majority in a lopsided decision loss.