Jorge Masvidal believes he has an arrangement of sorts with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
“Gamebred” will square off against Ben Askren at UFC 239 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on July 6. The 34-year-old Miami resident returned from a lengthy layoff at UFC London, where he knocked out former title challenger Darren Till 3:05 into the second round of the evening’s headliner. Prior to that, the Strikeforce veteran had lost back-to-back fights against Stephen Thompson and Demian Maia.
According to Masvidal, he accepted Askren as his next opponent because the promotion informed him that he would gain No. 1 contender’s status with a victory.
"(The UFC) said I would fight for the title after I smash this dude, so I said, 'Let's do it,'" Masvidal said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show . "I don't like the dude. But if they offered me somebody else to fight and then get the title, then it would have been somebody else. It's just who gets me quicker to the title. I just want to fight the best in the world.”
Well they had to dangle some type of Carrot to get him to agree to take a beating. https://t.co/jMwBQkkrxm— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) April 22, 2019
Shortly after Masvidal’s statement began making the rounds, Askren quickly issued a response via Twitter. Askren is coming off a controversial submission victory over Robbie Lawler in his debut at UFC 235. Promotion officials have not confirmed that Masvidal vs. Askren is a title eliminator bout.
Masvidal hasn’t fought for the belt in the Octagon, but he did drop a five-round verdict to Gilbert Melendez in a 155-pound championship clash under the Strikeforce banner in 2011. The 34-year-old owns a 34-13 record that includes wins over the likes of Donald Cerrone, Jake Ellenberger, Ross Pearson, Michael Chiesa, Tim Means, Yves Edwards and Joe Lauzon, to name a few.