Jorge Masvidal gained a newfound respect for Israel Adesanya after speaking to him about Yoel Romero
At the time, Masvidal was just minutes removed from his flying knee knockout against Ben Askren while Adesanya was awaiting his eventual showdown with Robert Whittaker that allowed him to unify the UFC middleweight titles in October.
The encounter could have been awkward considering Masvidal counts Yoel Romero as one of his closest friends and teammates and rumors have been circulating that the former two-time title contender could get the next shot at Adesanya’s middleweight gold.
Instead of some kind of unnecessary drama, Masvidal says he actually came to respect Adesanya more than ever that night after they shared a few words about Romero.
“Let me tell you about Izzy, I’ll share a personal story with Izzy,” Masvidal told MMA Fighting on Thursday. “Yoel, everybody knows that’s my boy, that’s my brother, we’ve been training together, all that you know. I see Izzy after my fight with Ben [Askren] at a club and Izzy’s a wild motherf*cker, he’s got his shirt off in the nightclub, women everywhere. I’m immediately like I love this motherf*cker. We’re just talking sh*t, just shooting the breeze, just two fighters who love what they do. He pulls me ‘come here, let me tell you something Masvidal — I know Yoel is your boy, listen to me that’s the baddest motherf*cker, until I fight that dude my legacy won’t be complete.’
“Now it’s in the club so I don’t know if he said those exact words ‘legacy’ and ‘complete’ but he clearly made it to me and this is why I love Izzy.”
Romero has often been considered the boogieman of the middleweight division and Masvidal has seen it time and time again where fighters will try to avoid facing him when the opportunity arises.
Knowing that Adesanya was not only willing to face Romero but he was ready to run head first into a fight like that made Masvidal respect him immediately.
“Nobody in history has wanted to fight Yoel. They get forced into fighting Yoel,” Masvidal explained. “Ask anybody. Ask one of the toughest motherf*ckers to do it [Robert] Whittaker, ask anybody if they want to fight Yoel and after you fight Yoel you see what happens. You’re never the same.
“Izzy looked me in my soul and goes ‘I’m going to fight Yoel.’ They could have offered him Joe Schmoe for the belt, it didn’t matter to him, He wanted to fight Yoel. Right then and there I knew the type of character he was. This guy is who he says he is. He wants to fight the best and the baddest of the baddest. I f*cking saluted him and said god bless you in your journey.”
Obviously, Masvidal is always going to be biased for his teammate but he also knows that Adesanya has the skills to beat anybody at middleweight on the right night.
That said, the Miami native knows that Romero presents a different kind of danger than anybody else in the UFC, which is why he can’t wait to see an eventual showdown with Adesanya in the future.
“Does Izzy have the tools to beat him? Of course. On his night, Izzy could beat anybody and make it look easy but can Yoel also beat Izzy? Hell yeah,” Masvidal said.
“There’s not a person — and it goes all the way to heavyweight — that Yoel can’t hit and dismantle your f*cking face.”