Former two-time UFC welterweight title challenger Jorge Masvidal has been working hard in the gym ahead of his Octagon return, according to American Top Team (ATT) head coach Mike Brown.
Brown said in a recent interview with CBS Sports’ Shakiel Mahjouri that although he wasn’t sure if “Gamebred” would answer Gilbert Burn’s UFC 282 challenge for January 21, the mixed martial arts superstar was focusing on his wrestling at ATT.
“I’m not certain — I know he wants to go sometime early next year,” Brown said. “He’s in the gym working hard, maybe harder than ever. He’s putting in a lot of work into his wrestling. This is a guy who can focus more than anybody that I know and that’s really into honing in on techniques and improving technique. And I think that’s his best asset, and that’s what he’s been doing.
“He’s been sharpening his tools, improving and adding a lot more depth to his wrestling. I’m not sure exactly who or win — I’m not his manager — but it’s going to be early next year.
“I think we’re going to see a sharper and better-than-ever [fighter].”
Masvidal is 0-3 in his last three contests, which includes two title defeats to then-champion Kamaru Usman and most recently, a unanimous decision loss to Colby Covington in March at UFC 272.
Usman and Covington both utilized wrestling in large parts to best Masvidal.
While appearing on the “IMPAULSIVE” podcast in April, Gamebred admitted that he needed to improve his grappling game to fend off the division’s wrestling elite.
“I’ve been doing this sport for quite a while,” Masvidal said (h/t MMA Fighting). “So, I do have a lot of data that I can use to go back on and start to dissect that and see what works and what doesn’t going forward, to solve these riddles. I’ve had a problem with wrestlers. It’s a couple times that I’ve had the problems. Not just a guy who was decent, [but] the more standout wrestlers, I’ve had a problem.
“With wrestlers, when they take me out of my element, and they’re able to keep pressing that hugging game, even when I do bring it to a neutral, I’m like, ‘F***, I spent a lot of extra power doing that.’ So knowing these things, I have a slight different plan and formula going forward to address these problems that I’ve had most of my career with the f****** wrestlers.”
During the same podcast, Gamebred said he wouldn’t rush back to the Octagon without making meaningful strides in his wrestling. And at the time, he revealed plans of working with the wrestlers at Penn State to sharpen his craft.
“The best program in the country currently, for the last 10 years, is Penn State,” Gamebred continued. “I’ve got some good friends over there, so I’m gonna go spend some time in Pennsylvania, wrestle in the morning, wrestle at night, wrestle in the morning, wrestle at night, and stay doing that, because I don’t feel like I have to work on my boxing — not to be cocky — or my kicking. It’s there any time. I’ve just got to sharpen it up before fights. So one of my main plans right now is go wrestle day and night and see what comes out of it.
“Then come back to the sport of MMA and see where I’m at. I don’t know how long that journey’s gonna take me. I don’t know if I’m gonna go there six months or six weeks until I get that breakthrough, but I know it will come from just being in there.”