Former UFC two-division champion Daniel Cormier responded to the verbal attack from Jorge Masvidal regarding title contention.
On Aug. 20, England found its second ever UFC champion when Leon Edwards dethroned the former welterweight and pound-for-pound king, Kamaru Usman, at UFC 278 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Usman looked set to come out on top of the judges’ scorecards and tie legendary mixed martial artist Anderson Silva’s record for most consecutive wins in the promotion.
A vicious head kick from Edwards in the last minute of the bout changed everything as Usman got handed his first loss in the promotion and lost out on adding more records to his glittering resume.
Following the shocking upset, former title challenger Masvidal, a longtime rival of Edwards, rallied for another shot at the gold. Coming off three consecutive defeats with two failed title bouts, Masvidal’s legitimacy in the mix of title contention got dismissed by Cormier, who suggested he get some notable wins before calling for the new champion.
Masvidal responded with a nasty rant aimed at Cormier on Aug. 24. “DC” let the verbal assault roll off his back, believing it to have come from Masvidal’s manager, Malki Kawa, head of First Round Management. However, Kawa informed Cormier that it was, indeed, Masvidal who wrote the message.
In a recent video uploaded to his YouTube channel, Cormier finally responded to the whole fiasco, explaining that popularity alone does not guarantee opportunity in the sport.
“At times, fighters mistake popularity for success,” Cormier said. “It’s not true. That’s not true, especially in this instance right now. Being popular will not give Jorge Masvidal the title shot. Even though you’re popping, it does not outweigh the work you put on paper… The popularity is great as a starting point but ultimately, everything that comes is rooted in the work.”
“DC” recalled how Masvidal’s first title shot came as a stroke of luck.
“What a lot of us forget in regards to Jorge Masvidal, he wasn’t supposed to fight Kamaru Usman in Abu Dhabi the first time… it all came down to chance.”
Cormier Laid Out Masvidal’s Path to the Title
Cormier gave his take on how “Gamebred” could possibly earn another title shot.
“How does Jorge Masvidal get to a title fight?” Cormier said. “One, you gotta fight Gilbert Burns right now. You got to accept the fight. I don’t know if you have been offered the fight, or if the legal issues are keeping you from taking the fight, but Gilbert Burns is out there saying the fight has been offered. He’s out there saying publicly, it’s just on you now.
“I know Jorge Masvidal is a street dude, from Miami, and does not run from a fight. But if you want that title fight, you got to fight “Durinho” right now. And you gotta win”
Cormier also pointed out an important factor and encouraged Masvidal to head in the right direction ahead.
“You also ‘gotta do one more thing,” he added. “You gotta fight him before the Edwards-Usman trilogy is announced. You gotta be going in the right direction by the time that the fight is announced so that if given the opportunity, you can capitalize on the chance, just like you did in the first title fight.”
Cormier Issued a Final Message for Fighters Attacking Fellow Peers in the Media
Before Cormier worked for the UFC as a broadcast team member, he was the king of the promotion’s light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions. He has often faced heat from fellow fighters who accuse him of having a bias while lending his voice in the commentary booth.
“DC” issued a final message for Masvidal and other athletes, who attack him and other fighters-turned-media members such as Michael Bisping.
“Jorge Masvidal and I have been in the same circle, the same organizations, all the way back to Strikeforce, and I respect him immensely. But I ask all these guys, once again, who are you talking to? Because I would appreciate knowing. Do I stay in hibernation or does that big nasty bear come back to play? I guess I’ll find out soon enough.”