UFC star Jorge Masvidal ‘beat the f***’ out of Nate Diaz, is ‘too much man’ for Conor McGregor, fought on the streets of Miami and admires Donald Trump

Sat in a McDonald’s drive-through in Miami, Jorge Masvidal listened blissfully to the powerful voice of the late, great Kimbo Slice.

The 18-year-old was invited to drive to the other side of Miami to face Slice’s protégé on that fateful day in 2004, a feared street fighter known as Ray, in just a few hours’ time.

Jorge Masvidal is one of the biggest PPV draws in MMA today

After polishing off the reminder of his hamburger, ‘Gamebred’ set off to the backyard brawl unaware his journey would lead him to fight on the other side of the world under the brightest of lights.

It is perhaps fitting the former street fighter earned his first ever UFC title fight on a week’s notice on ‘Fight Island’ against one of the most dominant champions in the sport.

Masvidal’s bout at UFC 251 against Kamaru Usman drew some of the biggest pay-per-view numbers for the UFC in 2020 – almost as much as Conor McGregor’s return in January.

He has an opportunity to right the wrongs of that night on Fight Island this Saturday night at UFC 261, with a whole camp behind him and his self-belief skyrocketing.

The journey from the back streets of Miami to box-office superstar is as entertaining and colourful as Masvidal’s career himself. But nothing has ever been handed to Masvidal and he certainly has paid his dues to get to the top.



Masvidal went 25 minutes with Kamaru Usman with his reputation enhanced
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His parents were both immigrants, his mother arrived in the States from Peru and his father arriving from Cuba at the age of 14 after travelling 90 miles at sea on a makeshift raft made out of a tractor tyre.

The youngster moved around the 305 with his mother, but saw little of Masvidal Sr who was incarcerated for 18 years for a drug trafficking charge when his son was just four.

Despite being told his dad was in the army, Masvidal learned of his father’s whereabouts at 13 and began to visit him in prison regularly.

His childhood years were pleasant, albeit impoverished, with his hyperactive nature and desire to compete leading him to his first ever fight.

‘Gamebred’ has fought for promotions all over the world
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“I was about nine years old riding a bike with some friends when we got stopped by a group of guys who were three or four years older than us,” he told the BBC.

“One of the guys leans over, grabs my shirt, pulls out a knife and tells me to give him my bike. I was scared. He had a knife. But there was a fence between us so I pulled back, assessed the situation, then took off.

“Then, five or six months later, there’s this incident where my friend got slapped at school, and I asked who’s the guy that slapped you? He pointed to the kid and just by luck, I realised it was the same guy who pulled a knife on me.

“We started going at it by the side of the cafeteria. I knew how to throw punches by watching kung-fu movies, and I landed a flurry, plus a head butt which busted his nose.”

A narrow defeat to Benson Henderson was the story of his early career
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At 14, he was boxing after school and taking karate lessons to sate his hunger for violence. Although he began to wrestle for his high school team and earned a starting spot, his grades stopped him from competing.

Just four years later, he had his first ever professional mixed martial arts fight whilst still a teenager and scored a first round knockout.

A veteran of nearly 50 fights, the now 36-year-old has competed for Bellator, Strikeforce, Shark Fights and World Victory Road, but never managed to quite hit the heights in the UFC.

He was seen as something of a journeyman; a gate-keeper to the top echelons of the lightweight and then welterweight division. But a reality show saved his career.

A stunning knockout of Donald Cerrone in 2017 boosted his cause
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But he was bullied by Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson a few months later and duly left the UFC
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Masvidal credits Dominican Republic game show, Exatlon Estados Unidos, for helping recharge his batteries.

“It was a restart button,” he told the UFC. “I got to know myself on a conscious level and a subconscious level.

“I got to be away from cell phones, from people, from music, from everything that we’re accustomed to.

“And in that time, I only heard one voice, which was mine. Maybe for some people that’s scary. I loved it. I was just getting to know myself, figuring out what really drives me, what I love about this sport so much, why I do this.”

And he was back with bang in 2019, spectacularly knocking out both Darren Till and Ben Askren, then cementing his status as one of the best fighters in the game with a beat down of Nate Diaz for the BMF title at Madison Square Garden in November. The iconic venue was also the setting for his defeat to Stephen Thompson at UFC 217 which prompted the exile.

‘Gamebred’ recovered and secured the KO win at the 02 Arena
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Masvidal knocked out Ben Askren in five seconds at UFC 239
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“The Ben Askren fight, that was it,” Joe Rogan said. “That was the cherry on top, and then of course the merking [sic] of Nate Diaz.

“He beat the f*** out of Nate Diaz. That was a crazy fight. He’s a monster. He’s hard for anybody to deal with.”

Masvidal himself continued: “That dude that fought that day; that guy is no longer with us. He’s resting in peace somewhere else.

“I buried that guy a long time ago. That other Gamebred doesn’t exist no more. It’s the resurrection of me.”

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Conor McGregor once called a fight with him ‘red panty night’ eluding to the millions of dollars you can expect earn against him, but a fight against ‘Gamebred’ is still yet to materialise.

Rumours suggested Dana White himself blocked the fight, with Masvidal suggesting ‘they don’t want a murder charge on me’ and that ‘the president said we can’t compete because I’m too much man’.

Instead, he has the chance to claim the UFC welterweight title in his 50th professional fight this weekend. Strap in and enjoy the hype train for as long as it lasts as characters like Masvidal do not come along very often.