Masvidal has strong words for 'Boris'

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Damon Martin

Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the sport since 2004. His work has been published in CNN, Bleacher Report, MMAWeekly.com, Yahoo! Sports, UFC.com and SportsIllustrated.com. He also co-hosts The Great Debate Radio MMA podcast, and has appeared on ESPN Radio and SportsNet Radio. Follow him on Twitter.


Heading into UFC Fight for the Troops on Wednesday night the spotlight in one of the featured bouts on the main card has fallen become very bright on Russian fighter Rustam Khabilov.

The accolades rained down on Khabilov during the weigh-ins on Tuesday as commentator Brian Stann and the rest of the crew raved about his wrestling and unique skill set to literally launch an opponent across the cage with one of his signature suplexes.

Attention and pats on the back go only so far in Jorge Masvidal's world because he could care less how many takedowns Khabilov landed in training or how wonderful his suplex is when executed to perfection. Masvidal just wants to know the names of the guys Khabilov has beat to become the UFC's sweetheart because it's not a very long list.

"I don't think anything of Boris," Masvidal said when referring to Khabilov in an interview with FOX Sports. "I haven't seen him fight anybody that's legit. I ain't worried about nothing right now at this point. Just some unknown dude that I've got to beat up, that's it, that's all I see. I'm going in to make sure I take care of business."

On paper, Masvidal should be a massive favorite, yet he'll walk into the cage on Wednesday night as a decided underdog. Somehow, the American Top Team lightweight's resume that includes three wins in a row, two in the UFC while his only loss in the last two years comes by way of decision to top ranked contender Gilbert Melendez in a closely contested bout.

As a matter of fact coming off his last victory over Ultimate Fighter winner Michael Chiesa, Masvidal was sure he was in line for a top 10 opponent.

"I definitely wanted a top five, top 10 guy, that's what I was looking for but as long as I got the call to fight I was happy. It wasn't the guy I wanted but whatever, it will do just fine," Masvidal said.

"I definitely get overlooked, but s—t happens. For one reason or another I get overlooked. I don’t think after this year's done I'm going to be overlooked anymore. I'm going to make sure people know who I am, end the year with a bang."

Because he's fighting in front of the enlisted men and women of the armed forces on Wednesday, Masvidal is even taking the magnitude of this fight up another level. Facing a Russian on an American military base gives Masvidal all the motivation he needs to send him packing back to Siberia.

"I've got to make sure I put this guy down. This is for America. I've got to make sure I do this one big," Masvidal said.

"I'm going to take care of this Russian. I'm going to take him down, beat him down on the ground. Ain't no foreign threats coming to America and get a win over here. I'm going to shut him down right away. His ass is getting merked."

Strong words from Masvidal and he had a few more for Khabilov when they stared each other down during the weigh-ins on Tuesday. This lightweight battle now has a little extra intensity in what was already set to be a fight full of fireworks.

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