Masvidal wants title shot and to ‘beat up’ Pauls

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HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Jorge Masvidal‘s immediate goal is very simple. He wants a fight next that will put him in a position to challenge again for the UFC welterweight title.

The UFC superstar’s future plans are a bit more complex. And both Jake Paul and Logan Paul are in his crosshairs. Masvidal and Jake Paul got into a back-and-forth exchange in interviews and on social media in the lead-up to Paul’s boxing match last month with Tyron Woodley.

Masvidal told ESPN in an interview Sunday night that he would be interested in fighting Jake Paul and his older brother Logan in the boxing ring.

“I’m gonna beat up all the Pauls,” Masvidal said minutes after making an appearance during the All Elite Wrestling pay-per-view event “All Out.” “If they put money in my pocket, that Logan Paul dude, Jake Paul, whoever Paul dudes — if they put money in my pocket, of course I’d like to break some Disney characters’ faces. I’ve been fighting men who have been training since 7, 8 years old to do the same thing to me what I want to do to them. Fighting guys like [the Pauls] is a bonus, man.”

On “The MMA Hour” last month, Masvidal picked Woodley to knock out Jake Paul in their boxing match. The prediction wasn’t all too surprising. Masvidal and Woodley both represent American Top Team and have the same management firm, First Round Management. They have known each other for more than a decade. But Jake Paul didn’t appreciate Masvidal’s comment because he and Masvidal were friendly before Jake Paul’s boxing match with Ben Askren, who was once knocked out in five seconds by Masvidal.

“Who the f— is this Paul kid?” Masvidal said. “He thinks we’re friends, because I gave him some advice in the Ben Askren fight. Get the f— out of here, bro. I’ll slap you and whoever the f— you want, bro. I’m a fighter. Of course you’re gonna get offended.”

Masvidal, the UFC’s mythical BMF champion, is obviously still under contract with the MMA promotion. But he doesn’t think it would be out of the question for him to cross over into boxing with UFC president Dana White’s blessing, especially given Jake Paul’s verbal attacks against White and UFC brass.

“UFC would have to sign off, but nothing is impossible,” Masvidal said. “Dana doesn’t like those guys and Dana knows I’ll go in there and put a hurting on those kids. Maybe he does send in the f—ing assassin.”

Masvidal, 36, is coming off back-to-back losses to Kamaru Usman in UFC welterweight title fights. The Miami native said he will meet with UFC execs in Las Vegas in two weeks to sort out what is next for him in the Octagon. Masvidal (35-15) said he doesn’t care who his next opponent is yet — whether it’s someone like Leon Edwards or Gilbert Burns — as long as that matchup benefits him in the title picture.

“Ideal scenario — I walk into the office and they go, ‘This individual can get you closer to the title than any other individual,'” Masvidal said. “And I go, ‘Give me that individual.’ And they offer it to me with a lot of money behind it. All these guys are corny. I don’t give a f— about them. I want to go for the title again. Whatever it takes to get to that title — whatever opponent, whatever threat, challenge. Whatever they want to come up for me to deal with it, I’m there to do it.”

Masvidal said he is also interested in a rematch of the original BMF fight between him and Nate Diaz in the future. But he’s keeping a close eye on the other Diaz: Nick, who fights Robbie Lawler at UFC 266 on Sept. 25 in Las Vegas. Nick Diaz will be fighting for the first time since January 2015. But the older Diaz brother is a bonafide star, former Strikeforce welterweight champion and former UFC title challenger.

“If Nick looks good and does his job, why not me and Nick?” Masvidal said. “I’d love to fight Nick. It’s a classic fight. It’s a fight that I always wanted to do since I was at Strikeforce at 155 [pounds] and he was at 170. I was like, ‘Man, that’s a dude I would like to fight.’ Nothing personal, just because of his style. The way that he leaves it all out there. If I get a fight with Nick, it’ll be a blessing.”

But top priority right now isn’t the Pauls or the Diaz brothers. Masvidal is hunting for an opponent who will vault him back into title challenger status. And he wants Usman to be the champion if he’s able to climb that ladder once again, setting up a third fight, he said.

“The title is everything that’s on my mind,” Masvidal said.

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