Strikeforce lightweight Jorge Masvidal (22-6) is a day away from the biggest fight of his career against one of the top 155ers in MMA. However, ask Masvidal for a take on his headlining bout against champion Gilbert Melendez and you might be surprised by his nonchalance. Not only does Masvidal view the pairing as being just another match-up but also isn’t terribly impressed by what “El Nino” has to offer inside the cage.
“I’ve been fighting since I was a kid, and at the end of the day, it’s just a fistfight. Yeah, there’s a referee in the cage and I got my cornermen and he’s got his cornermen and we’ve been training, but it’s a fight, so let’s just go out there and compete,” said Masvidal in an interview with Strikeforce’s website. “And that’s what I do. I’ve been training real hard and I rely on my instincts. If he does this, I’m gonna do that, and vice versa. I’m gonna do whatever it takes to win. Some people think too much – ‘this fight I can get a title fight, and if I get a title fight…’ Just go out there and fight and have fun doing what you like to do.”
As far as 19-2 Melendez goes, Masvidal hasn’t bought into the hype surrounding his opponent. In fact, outside of Melendez’s conditioning, “Gambred” doesn’t see much to be concerned about in terms of the title-holder’s skill-set.
“He’s got a lot of cardio (but) his technique in any one aspect is not great,” explained the 27-year old. “I think he’s solid everywhere but I don’t think he’s exceptional in any area besides his cardio. And he wants to fight. He knows he doesn’t have great technique anywhere and he just comes to fight, and I like that because I know he’s gonna come to fight and it’s gonna be an easier fight for me that way.”
Though his opinion may differ from numerous fans, fighters, and media, Masvidal embraces his underdog status rather than gets defensive about it.
“For me, I really don’t care. I actually like it. A lot of my friends are gonna make a lot of money.”
Interested parties can catch Masvidal and Melendez mix it up tomorrow night on Showtime with the broadcast starting at 10:30 PM EST. Other bouts on the card include Gegard Mousasi vs. Ovince St. Preux, K.J. Noons vs. Billy Evangelista, and Cris Santos vs. Hiroko Yamanaka.
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE
MMATraining Take: To say Melendez isn’t a “great” wrestler is silly. Is he world-class? No, not at all. However, he’s a good grappler with solid boxing, and while he may not be as sharp on his feet as Masvidal I’d still give him the nod when comparing their mat-based abilities.