SAN JOSE, Calif. — Jorge Masvidal has a plan, starting with this weekend.
First, the surging lightweight wants to knock off Daron Cruickshank at UFC Fight Night: Lawler vs. Brown on Saturday here at SAP Center (FOX prelims, 6 p.m.). Then, he has designs on fighting at UFC 178 in September and UFC 180 in November.
Masvidal’s desired opponent for Sept. 27? Donald Cerrone.
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"Because I’ll kick his ass," Masvidal said. "I want some easy money."
Cerrone is ranked No. 5 among UFC lightweight contenders following a second-round knockout win over Jim Miller last week in Atlantic City. He’s on a four fight winning streak, all of them coming by way of finish. But Masvidal isn’t too impressed.
He’s pretty tough against other guys that ain’t tough.
-Jorge Masvidal on Donald Cerrone
"He’s pretty tough against other guys that ain’t tough," the American Top Team product said. "I ain’t trying to act like a bad ass, but punching and kicking is part of the game. He hits people and they just start breaking all of a sudden before he knocks them out. I want to get in there and show him what’s up."
Masvidal (26-8), who’s ranked No. 14 in the division, has won three of his last four fights, including a win over Pat Healy in April on FOX. It isn’t that he doesn’t believe Cerrone is good. He just questions the fortitude of the recent guys "Cowboy" has faced.
"He’s a tough dude," Masvidal said of Cerrone. "You have to be able to take a punch, you have to be able to give a punch. You gotta be mentally tough. I just think when it comes to getting into deeper waters, I think I’m way tougher than him and I can put out a lot more than he can."
Cerrone was supposed to meet Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 178, but minutes after the bout agreement was signed, Nurmagomedov ripped up his knee. He’s out indefinitely, leaving Cerrone without a fight. "Cowboy" could end up getting the winner of Saturday’s fight between Josh Thomson and Bobby Green, another serious lightweight contender encounter. Masvidal, though, hopes he’s the one getting the call.
"Give me the toughest guys in the division to fight," he said. "Just keep lining them up. I’ll fight the toughest dudes. I don’t like fighting guys not in the top 10. It doesn’t really get me where I want to be."
Cruickshank isn’t ranked and Masvidal wasn’t a huge fan of that fight when he was offered it. But he’s not one to turn down opponents and he knows Cruickshank, like himself, puts on a show.
If he beats Cruickshank, Masvidal wants Cerrone and then a spot on the Mexico City card in November. Masvidal, of Cuban and Peruvian descent, didn’t even know how to speak English until he was 10 years old growing up in inner-city Miami. He relates very well to the Hispanic fanbase.
"I’m dying to get on that card," Masival said. "That’s my dream."
He has the rest of the year figured out. It’s just a matter of beating Cruickshank on Saturday, which, of course, won’t be an easy task.