The pressure is on Jorge Masvidal at UFC 272, according to Chael Sonnen.
Masvidal returns to the Octagon to face rival Colby Covington later this year. The event is set for March 5 from the T-Mobile Arena.
For Masvidal, it marks his first bout since last April when he was knocked out by Kamaru Usman for the welterweight title. Since winning three in a row, he has dropped two straight to Usman.
And that is why Sonnen believes he faces a must-win situation.
“In all fairness, I’ve really got to show respect to Masvidal because this is a career-ending fight,” Sonnen said (thanks to MMA Fighting for the quotes). “It is that big of a deal.
“There will be that much attention and that much focus, and that much hatred going into this battle.”
Sonnen called Masvidal the “second biggest draw in combat right now,” but added “if he goes out there and he gets taken down and he gets mauled for 25 minutes, it is going to take a lot of luster off of the shine that is the No. 2, the sport’s second biggest draw, the BMF, Jorge Masvidal.”
Masvidal went on a tear in 2019, finishing Darren Till, Ben Askren and Nate Diaz to become the No. 1 contender. But he was unable to solve Usman, dropping a decision in 2020 and the rematch a year later.
Like Masvidal, Covington has also yet to solve Usman. He lost in 2019 to him via fifth round TKO, stopped Tyron Woodley in 2020 and dropped the rematch with Usman in November.