For the first time in his professional career, Jorge Masvidal may go a full calendar year without a fight in 2018. He is anxious to return though, and wants it to be against the best name possible.
The UFC has already offered him a fun one: welterweight Nick Diaz, who hasn't fought since 2015.
Masvidal (32-13) says he accepted the offer, but doesn't know if the fight will materialize. He actually asked to fight Diaz's younger brother, Nate, on short notice earlier this month as well.
"The UFC offered us Nick Diaz and obviously we said yes," Masvidal told ESPN. "I would have loved to fight Nate, too -- just because those guys are studs, man. All will. They don't have the most skills in the division, but they have maybe the most will. You can beat the s--- out of them -- pain, fatigue -- it doesn't matter. And I've got a lot of those same qualities. My fan base knows I'm going in there to die trying."
Masvidal, 34, sat out the first half of this year to nurse several injuries he'd previously fought through. He probably could have returned sooner, but had trouble finding a date and an opponent. He ended up agreeing to appear on a Spanish-language reality show, which wrapped last month.
He says he's agreed to fight Leon Edwards (16-3), a British welterweight who has called him out on social media -- but doesn't know if that will be his next fight. He admitted he did turn down an offer to fight Gunnar Nelson, but only because he wanted to see where the Diaz offer went.
"That wasn't a fight that even interested me," Masvidal said. "Is Gunnar the highest guy I can fight right now? They offered me Nick Diaz. Who would you rather fight between them? These guys get their feelings hurt and think I'm ducking them -- who the f--- is ducking Gunnar Nelson?
"I want the best fight possible. If that ends up being whack-ass Gunnar, then whack-ass Gunnar it is. But if I'm being offered better stuff, hold your horses Gunnar, and dude from England (Edwards). You're not even in my rearview mirror. Let me do what's best for me and if at some point you keep winning, I'll f--- you guys up."
Regardless of whom his next opponent turns out to be, Masvidal says he's extremely motivated to return -- even 15 years and 45 fights into his career. The reality show he participated in, filmed in Dominican Republic, offered a lot of time in solitude, where he realized he still is in love with his craft.
"I'm more eager than I've been in a while to get in the cage and have fun," he said. "Being on that show, you don't have a phone or TV, it's just you with your own thoughts, working out and being in nature. It was a great routine. I got to be with my thoughts for a while, nobody giving me their opinions or dropping messages on social media. Fighting was always on my mind. It's something I miss so much. It's the funnest thing I've ever done."