Ain’t nothin changed, he’s still the fast-talking gambler Jorge Masvidal from the streets of Miami Florida. The bright lights haven’t turned him into something he is not. Rather the bright lights have simply shown those who didn’t know or who frankly didn’t really care. Who the hell Jorge Gamebred Masvidal is …
Starting his professional MMA career back in 2003. Masvidal wasn’t one of those now typical stud college wrestlers who made the seamless transition into mixed martial arts. Rather he was a student with poor grades who would eventually drop out of school along with that, its wrestling programme.
If you were to look deeper into his past, you would find that it hasn’t all been sunshine and roses for the son of a Cuban father and Peruvian mom. His father ended up doing 20 years for manslaughter and drugs trafficking. While at the same time Jorge found his home on the tough streets of Miami.
The Early Years
His decision to try his hand in MMA no doubt stemmed from his early years, where street fighting seems to have been a staple part of his youth. But little did he know that it would be this critical decision all those years ago that would steer the college drop out on a path to stardom and shot at the UFC world championship.
His journey from where he started, through the ranks, right up until around 2019 passed by without much fanfare. Masvidal hasn’t had the luxury of being one of these fighters to show up, then a few fights later get a title shot. He’s been around for what seems like forever and has put in those hours on the mats and inside the cage. His story truly is one of an everyday grind.
Somewhere along the way, Jorge became involved with Miami street brawler Kimbo Slice. A huge internet start who was known for knocking out and physically mutilating the guys he faced in one on one bare-knuckle fights. And who himself would later turn to the sport of MMA.
Kimbo also played a role is running some backyard bust-ups with some of the local up and coming street fighters. And it was here where Jorge, already a professional fighter training out of American Top Team. Would make sew the seed of his internet fame by taking out Kimbo’s protege Ray in their now infamous backyard fight.
Little did Masvidal realise that these seemingly small-time street fights, which he had been involved in throughout his life. And that grainy footage of him facing down an obviously much bigger man, Kimbo’s number one pick, under the baking hot Miami sun. Would catapult him to the status of Baddest Motherfucker not so many years down the line. It was right there that for those watching the Gamebred story began.
If you have been following his career Jorge Masvidal, he looked set to be another on the long list of division gatekeepers. Every division has them, the guys who are always there or thereabouts. But when push comes to shove, when it really counts, cannot seem to make it over that final hurdle!
All too often when Jorge needed to get that win and grab his spot a the top, he failed, several times. His future in the sport seemed all but assured, one of those fighters who could have made it, if certain close calls and split decisions had just fallen his way for once.
But many years on and with countless fights under the big lights under his belt. It would be Gamebred’s love of the fight and taking a gamble that would finally propel him into the big time.
The Sacrificial Lamb
When did the MMA world suddenly wake up, clear the sleep from their eyes and realise Jorge Masvidal was someone they needed to pay a lot more close attention to?
With the retirement of the former middleweight champion Michael Bisping, the UK had been crying out for a new star to rise to the occasion and take his place. Enter Darren Till, who with just six fights into his UFC career got a shot at the welterweight title. However, things didn’t quite work out as planned.
Twas but a hiccup along the way as the ultra-confident Till believed he would be back challenging the very top in no time. And his fight against Jorge Masvidal in London was supposed to be that stepping stone back into contention. At least that is the feeling Jorge and many others got at the time, a sacrificial lamb if you will.
Use the gatekeeper as a springboard to shoot back into top contender status. On paper, it looked like a solid bet, but that is why some gamblers beat the house on a regular, knowing something others don’t and placing their bets accordingly. And it was Masvidal’s well-placed gamble that paid off with a highlight-reel knockout of Till that would finally grab fans by the collar and scream, did you see that!
Two Pieces and a Soda
Not being content with knocking out the local favourite on home soil. On that very same night, Jorge would go on to firmly stamp the BMF seal showing just how much of a no-nonsense, what Nate Diaz would call gangster, he truly is. When being interviewed live on ESPN he severed his favourite two pieces and a soda to potential future opponent Leon Edwards. And if Darren Till was the main course, then Edwards was the desert.
And far from condoning what he did backstage in London. You can’t help but analyse how much higher the incident drove his stock value amongst fight fans.
In a single night, Jorge Masvidal went from being a good fighter to someone fans wanted to see and hear from again as soon as possible. And no doubt the UFC also noticed this seed change in his popularity, as two pieces and a soda became the latest catchphrase to become forever linked with a UFC fighter.
All the while there had been some bad blood brewing online. As the ultimate MMA Twitter troll Ben Askren and Jorge had been routinely exchanging pleasantries. Ensuring that a potential matchup between the two was never far off theirs or fight fans radar. And the two finally got their opportunity to put all the talk to one side when they met at UFC 239.
As they faced off across the cage, both continued with their verbal jousting before the real battle began. But in as calm, cool and collected a fashion as you will ever see. Masvidal with arms behind his back launched himself across the cage and head-on into a shooting Ben Askren, landing a stunning knee and the fastest knockout in UFC history.
For Jorge, it was a fairytale ending for an itch he had been dying to scratch. And now with Till taken care of and Askren literally on ice, who and what next? A title shot, a number one contender runoff. Or a fight that kinda made sense, but really didn’t, against one of the divisions other standout personalities in Stockton California’s Nathan Diaz.
The BMF Belt
Its 2019 and fights are now made by calling out what seem like random people, often for pretty off the wall reasons. How about finding out who is the baddest motherfucker in the UFC? How about Jorge Masvidal vs Nate Diaz for the BMF title, or the soon to be minted BMF title.
While not making a whole lot of sense in terms of rankings and the division itself. Just in terms of pure entertainment value alone, seeing these two go toe to toe made great sense. And these days in the UFC when it comes to ways to make money and pay down debt. Why not come up with a whole new unofficial unranked title, makes perfect sense, right?
In the main event fight scheduled for five rounds, these two went hammer and tongs at one another, with Masvidal displaying a clear advantage. And although Nate is as tough as they come, it wouldn’t be enough for the doctor not to stop the fight due to a bad cut.
Nate Diaz vs Jorge Masvidal UFC 244
How Diaz would have looked in the fourth and fifth is now immaterial. Masvidal took to the title and his newfound fame only as a true champion can. It felt for all the world like he was made to be in the spotlight, it just took time for the light to find him. But now that he had arrived, it was a case of where have you been all this time, we’ve been waiting for you.
The Money Fight
When the dust had finally settled, it wasn’t long before Jorge’s name was once again being mentioned. As the stars appeared to be aligning for a fight that would finally get Gamebred where he needed to be. Sixteen years as a professional, but always falling short of the mark.
For all the world the money fight looked like it would happen. Not a shot at the UFC championship, but two-division champion the Notorious Conor McGregor. The fighter who brings the biggest red panty paychecks for his opponents even without any title being on the line.
Jorge was down, McGregor seemed to imply he was down, hell even the fans were down. But the UFC in their infinite wisdom had other plans, as Masvidal will now face the champion, Kamara Usman, for the UFC welterweight strap.
Look it’s not the end of the world, but should Jorge lose, it kills his opportunity to fight McGregor in the real money fight. And we know its all about those big money fights for Masvidal, the title is secondary.
But on the flip side, if he becomes the champion and Conor McGregor is still circling the division. It may set things up for one hell of a welterweight showdown. As the BMF UFC champion looks to defend his crowns against the Notorious one.
A fight of epic proportions should it come to pass. A fight that would seal Masvidal’s legacy in the annals of MMA history, something he deserves after dedicating most of his life to the fight game. It would truly feel like a movie-style ending, where the guy from the streets makes it all the way to the top. It would somehow feel familiar?
The World is Yours Jorge, if you are willing to go out there and take it …
Images courtesy of msn.com