Masvidal battled Maia at UFC 211 earlier this month, and while he scored more damaging shots, the latter’s vaunted grappling was the difference. Now from a rankings and title shot perspective, it was a crucially important fight, as Masvidal likely would have locked up a title shot if he had won. But, it doesn’t sound like that’s why the defeat has hit Masvidal so hard.
During a recent appearance on “The MMA Hour”, Masvidal had this to say about the fight (quote via MMA Fighting):
“A loss is a loss, but that loss is a weird one, because it hurts me,” Masvidal said. “It bothers me. None of these other split losses — obviously they bother me because of paychecks, [but] I’m the type of guy that if I get held down for 10 seconds in practice, I f*cking go crazy. Later on, I’m thinking about it still. I still have to deal with that, that this guy was able to do it for a lot longer than 10 seconds in a fight. I’ve got to fix those holes and stuff.
“So it bothers me on personal level. I know on the business side, a lot of people have told me the same thing you told me (that it doesn’t hurt my stock), but to me, on a personal level, this is the loss that’s bothered me the most, in possibly my whole career.”
Yup. Maia’s jiu-jitsu skills are truly galaxy glass. Case in point, Masvidal went on to add that he’s never encountered a half guard game like Maia’s, despite the fact he’s rolled with numerous BJJ champs. The welterweight said he felt threatened the whole time he was in Maia’s half guard, which is not something he’s accustomed to.
It’s going to be interesting to see if and how Maia can put his grappling game into play against Tyron Woodley, a former NCAA Division 1 wrestler.