One might argue that it takes two to create an all-time great knockout.
Just don’t tell that to Jorge Masvidal.
Speaking to the media backstage at UFC Uruguay on Saturday, Masvidal was asked about his growing popularity and how much of it stems from his five-second flying knee knockout of Ben Askren at UFC 239 last month. The lead-up to their fight saw Askren handling the lion’s share of the trash talk, which may have added to the buzz around the spectacular finish.
In the end, Masvidal gave credit to Askren in his own tongue-in-cheek way.
“To thank him, I thank everybody that steps in there and fights,” Masvidal said. “So he can get the general thank you. But he didn’t do nothing for me, I did everything for that moment. That moment was me doing that. That’s not the first time I knocked somebody out with a flying knee. It won’t be the last either. It was just at the right time at the best possible scenario.
“So in a way, yeah, I guess, thanks to Ben’s chin for being in collision with my f*cking knee. So thank you to your f*cking chin, Ben.”
Masvidal has almost 50 pro MMA bouts under his belt, so his late-blooming popularity has raised plenty of eyebrows. This same time last year, “Gamebred” was struggling to get over the hump against top welterweight contenders Demian Maia and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. Now, after back-to-back KOs of Askren and one-time welterweight title challenger Darren Till, Masvidal and his management feel he’s in strong enough of a position to hold out for either a UFC title shot or a big-money bout with Conor McGregor.
For Masvidal, it’s not much of a mystery why it took so long for his star to shine.
“I’m also kind of quiet, so I think if reporters show up and nobody asks me shit, I won’t say shit,” Masvidal said. “I’m not Ben Askren or a lot of these fighters. I’ve never called a reporter like, hey, I want to be on your show, book me, you know? You call me. And not because I feel you have to call me, but it’s just the way I am in real life.
“I don’t go around making conversation, I just kind of stick to myself. People engage in conversation I’ll respond back and engage in the conversation, but maybe that’s part of the reason why. I didn’t get a lot of questions asked earlier in my career, I guess. But I’ve always been the same guy, more or less.”
As a guest fighter in Montevideo this week, Masvidal has been feeling the love from the people of Uruguay and it doesn’t sound like he’ll get tired of his historic win over Askren anytime soon.
“The more I tour the world, the more I see that people are just like me,” Masvidal said. “They love violence. People are going f*cking crazy every time they see it. And then they ask me, ‘Do you get bored of hearing you got the best knee ever or the best knockout over?’
“I go, ‘No, I don’t, man.’ Especially when it reminds me of who I did it on too. It’s one of those fun things, you know?”