Chael Sonnen has laid out some options for UFC welterweight star Jorge Masvidal as he looks to revive his career in 2023.
In 2019, Masvidal shot to fame with a trio of wins. After drawing interest with a knockout win over Darren Till in enemy territory, “Gamebred” went on to deliver a record-setting flying-knee KO of Ben Askren before sharing the Octagon with Nate Diaz in one of the biggest events of the year.
But since his Madison Square Garden-held victory over the Stockton native, Masvidal hasn’t had his hand raised. While he fell short of ascending to the 170-pound mountaintop in two outings opposite Kamaru Usman, the second of which saw him slept by “The Nigerian Nightmare” in 2021, the Miami native also failed to find form last year.
In his sole outing, the UFC’s ‘BMF’ titleholder was comfortably outpointed by former friend-turned-bitter rival Colby Covington, whom he’s alleged to have later attacked from behind in a street altercation.
With that, Masvidal has entered the new year way out of contention at #11 on the welterweight ladder, riding a three-fight losing skid, and dealing with the legal case resulting from his incident with Covington last March.
2023, therefore, could mark a defining year for the remainder of Masvidal’s career on MMA’s biggest stage. And with that, former middleweight and light heavyweight contender Sonnen has posed a key question.
“What should Jorge Masvidal do to revive his career?” Sonnen asked during a video uploaded to his YouTube channel. “There comes a time where you need an opponent, and as long as you are aware of that time and you go find that opponent, boom, you move right on through that roadblock.”
Sonnen Has Two Plans Of Attack For Masvidal In 2023
Sonnen went on to discuss two leading options for Masvidal, the first of which will be familiar to the Miami native.
Ever since Leon Edwards’ crowning at UFC 278 last August, Masvidal has campaigned to be the first challenger to the Brit’s reign, pointing to the pair’s backstage altercation in 2019 as the obvious backstory.
But given his current form, many shot down Masvidal’s callouts, including “Rocky” himself. And while Sonnen shares that sentiment in terms of a title shot, he’s advised “Gamebred” to keep his crosshairs on the champ, but with a slight strategical adjustment.
“He has something very special with Leon,” Sonnen said. “Masvidal appears to be putting a lot of eggs in the basket of Kamaru Usman doesn’t show up in March, he steps in, three piece & a soda gets answered for. It’s a risk, it’s an outside shot. But I think he’s got a real opportunity there to go hard at Leon and hide the fact that he wants a title opportunity, the glitz and glamor, and the money that comes with it.
“He can hide that very easily by coming out, telling the world, ‘Don’t call for me, don’t ask me to fight anybody. My next fight is going to be Leon.’ … ‘Well Leon’s the champion of the world… you’re coming off a loss to Colby. How does that work?’ He answers the question, ‘Because Leon isn’t going to beat Kamaru. I’m gonna wait until Kamaru beats him, then I’m gonna come in and beat him up again. I don’t care about the belt… I don’t care about the money. I’m coming for Leon!’” Sonnen added. “All of a sudden, people are gonna be looking at that a lot differently.”
Beyond that, Sonnen noted that bouts against the likes of Conor McGregor, Stephen Thompson, and Gilbert Burns would all make some sense. However, he suggested a more surprising name instead.
“One that he should do, one that I’ve always wanted him to do, and one that he’s never done — I wonder why? I think it’s out of respect — is Nick Diaz,” Sonnen said. “They ended up getting Nate in there, but big brother Nick avenging, coming in after the fact — this was talked about, this was discussed.
“Masvidal never co-signed it. I don’t know why. I know he knows how big that would be,” Sonnen continued. “He didn’t do it, and I don’t predict he’s gonna. I think it has to do with respect, and I think that’s interesting.”
Masvidal faced and defeated Nick’s brother, Nate, back in 2019 at UFC 244. But he hasn’t appeared as keen to share the cage with the older Diaz, even questioning whether his fellow veteran should continue fighting following a comeback loss at the hands of Robbie Lawler in 2021.
What do you make of Chael Sonnen’s career advice for Jorge Masvidal?
Please provide transcription credit with a link to this article if you use any of these quotes.