Will Jorge Masvidal Finally Arrive At UFC 251?
As we are all well aware at this point, Kamaru Usman will not be defending his title against Gilbert Burns. No, that would be just too plain predictable. As in these topsy turvy upside down times of a worldwide pandemic. The script has been flipped and he will now step in against the guy many wanted to see him face all along, “Gamebred” Jorge Masvidal. It’s the fight, fans were calling for since 2019, so let’s roll it back.
Masvidal was drafted in to take on the up and coming Darren Till in March. A year previously, Till had been described by UFC president Dana White as “The Future” of the division. Unbeaten in his professional career, he had carved through his opponents. Until of course his charge was unceremoniously stopped by the champion Tyron Woodley.
Jorge Masvidal was regarded as a sometimes hot, sometimes cold fighter. Who with a win for Till on home soil would get the Brit back in the saddle and on his way to another crack at the title. And with the signing off of one Michael Bisping, the UK was crying out for a fighter to rep them on the international scene and The Gorilla appeared to be that guy.
But an unanswered left hook, plus two pieces and a soda later, that all lay in ruins. Masvidal had gone into enemy territory with a target on his back and taken out two of the UK’s top fighters at 170 lbs. One inside the octagon and the other on his way to the changing room.
Almost immediately from this point on, Jorge went from being a tricky gatekeeper. To a guy, fans wanted to see much more of. And with a very vocal loudmouth Ben Askren, just the type of guy a Gamebred fighter loves to shut down and shut up waiting in the wings. Masvidal continued on the way to his long-overdue final destination.
At UFC 239 It All Changed
Scoring the quickest knockout in UFC history, with one of the most emphatic stoppages the sport has known. Jorge had all but arrived, in a journey that seemed to take far longer than was super necessary. Masvidal had now become one of the most well-known faces in all MMA.
And in a sport where on any given day, almost anything can happen. The geniuses over at UFC HQ decided that rather than giving him a shot at the welterweight title. Why not throw him in against another big name and fellow badass Nate Diaz. To decide who between the two would be crowned the baddest Motherf**#$r in the UFC!
And in Diaz, he found the perfect opponent on which to solidify his real-life persona as a badass Cuban American. Representing the tough streets of Miami, in very much the same way as an iconic movie character who had come before.
And with many striking similarities in their personal stories. Masvidal was able to harness that notoriety, that fame and that realness to give us Gamebred fighter.
It All started In Miami
And for those who hadn’t been paying attention, the foundation for this stratospheric rise was laid many years before. The now infamous documented backyard brawls. His almost personal vlog series Miami Hustle created by friend and filmmaker Isaac Kesington or Genghis Con Films.
Who back in the day documented his life and times, when no one really knew or cared much about this MMA fighter from the backstreets of Miami.
The cult of Jorge Masvidal has been many years in the making. It’s been a long and winding road, with lots of twists and turns. As well as countless stops at the drive-thru. And if we are honest, from following his story you could make an argument that he himself played a big part in the journey taking as long as it did.
But with one last task to perform before we can say he has finally arrived. This weekend on just six days notice, Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal will try to reach his final destination at UFC 251. A UFC championship and perhaps debatably a position as the biggest star in the sport. Standing in his away is the reigning division champion and on July 12th we finally find out if his luck has finally run out.
Images courtesy of theathletic.com, reddit.com