Setbacks in mixed martial arts happen every day. It’s just one of those things that can have a major impact on any event. When this happens, UFC matchmakers are forced to venture to their list of phone contacts to seek out a replacement to step in for the injured fighter. It then comes down to the decision of who is on the other end of that call.

Is taking a fight on short notice worth it? Is my body prepared for it? How much will it benefit me?

These are the questions that run through the minds of most individuals trying to make that decision to step in or to decline the offer. But for one man, there were no questions and there was no doubt in his decision to step up to fight at UFC on Fox 8 this Saturday.

After Reza Madadi was forced out of his bout with Michael Chiesa due to visa issues, the UFC contacted Jorge Masvidal to fill the void. When he was told he would be fighting The Ultimate Fighter 15 winner, Masvidal’s only pause was to pinch himself before responding.

“The first thing I did was check the calendar,” Masvidal told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “I thought it was Christmas or April Fool’s, like a joke was being played on me.”

It was no joke, however, and once Masvidal established that this was really happening, he gladly took the fight against Chiesa. The 28-year-old has been competing in mixed martial arts since 2003, joining many of the top promotions along the way, including Strikeforce, Sengoku and Bellator. When getting word the UFC wanted him to fight a guy with just nine career fights, Masvidal was faced with a no-brainer. Not only does Masvidal believe he has a clear upper hand in the fight, but there’s also some history between the two that made his decision to accept the bout all that much easier.

“I don’t really think anything of him,” Masvidal declared. “I don’t like him as a person because he was disrespectful towards a teammate of mine that he fought. Other than that, as a fighter, I think he’s garbage. I don’t respect him as a fighter or a person.”

This is an opportunity for Masvidal to earn his second win inside the Octagon, while also getting a chance to settle the score with Chiesa. Those are the perks, but there’s also a downside to this match-up in Masvidal’s eyes.

“I don’t think my stock will rise any from beating him,” the lightweight said. “If it does, it will be the weirdest shit ever. I’ve beat up real fighters who are legit good. So I don’t know why my stock would rise from beating him, but the world is funny. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. I really don’t care.”

During his stint in Strikeforce, Masvidal was one of the promotion’s top contenders at 155 pounds. “Gamebred” defeated Billy Evangelista and K.J. Noons to earn himself a title shot against champion Gilbert Melendez, and even though Masvidal fell by unanimous decision, he made things competitive and kept it a close contest. Since then, Masvidal has rebounded to defeat Justin Wilcox and Tim Means, but he has yet to make an impact in terms of the rankings. However, Masvidal doesn’t pay attention to the “he say, she say” rankings, as he calls them, and focuses instead on his own abilities.

“My record is pretty decent. I’ve got a lot of robberies on my record, but other than that, I’ve beaten up some solid guys over my career. I just have to take care of business, do what I’m expected to do, and just fight the next toughest guy,” Masvidal said.

“I think I can kick anyone’s ass in the lightweight division right now on any given day. I just have to go out there and perform and stay a little more consistent. I don’t think there’s anyone out there that I don’t match up well with.”

Masvidal admitted that he wanted a top-five or, at the very least, top-10 opponent instead of an undefeated prospect for his next appearance inside the Octagon, but he certainly isn’t going to shy away from fighting Chiesa. Chiesa has won seven of his nine fights by submission, and Masvidal is prepared for the early takedown attempts. But in the end, the veteran says he will break his opponent as the fight wears on.

“He’s going to come out throwing punches, moving, doing all that weird stuff he does,” Masvidal predicted. “He’ll start shooting in with those horrendous shots and I’ll catch him.”

If successful, Masvidal will be expecting another call from the UFC. When that time comes, he will hope that the name uttered on the other end of that phone call is that of a legitimate lightweight, one who will give him an opportunity to move into title contention.

Jorge would like to thank God, American Top Team and ML Management. Follow Masvidal on Twitter: @GamebredFighter

Photo: Jorge Masvidal (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.