A win over Rustam Khabilov would put Jorge Masvidal on a three-fight win streak inside the UFC. That should be enough to gain the attention of UFC matchmakers and convince them to give him better fights.
A man just two years removed from a Strikeforce lightweight title fight with Gilbert Melendez, Masvidal has won all of his fights since his failed title bid (Justin Wilcox, Tim Means and Michael Chiesa). If he makes it past Khabilov, the UFC should give him tougher competition.
Gamebred is not quite at the level of the championship contenders in the UFC lightweight division, but the UFC needs to challenge him. The 28-year-old has plenty of talent to offer. Should he be fighting the likes of Gray Maynard, T.J. Grant or anyone else ranked in the top-5 or 10? No, but he should be tested.
Masvidal has a decent stand-up game and an underrated ground game. He submitted a man, Chiesa, who makes a living by getting people to tap out. He was also able to last all five rounds against Melendez before losing a unanimous decision. A fight with the winner of Donald Cerrone/Evan Dunham would be a nice step up in competition for Masvidal. Those two men will fight on Nov. 16 at UFC 167.
A fight with Melvin Guillard, who loves to stand and bang, or Edson Barboza, if he manages to get past Danny Castillo, would also be a good match up for Gamebred.
It’s understandable how Masvidal could be lost in the shuffle at lightweight considering it’s one of the UFC’s deepest divisions, but he deserves a chance to show his talent against a better-known opponent. If he loses against a well-known opponent (or Khabilov), then leave him on the undercard roster.