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Jorge Masvidal was a street fighter, reality TV star, then ‘beat the f***’ out of Nate Diaz and says he’s ‘too much of a man’ for Conor McGregor and wants Now shut up Colby Covington


Sitting in a McDonald’s drive-thru in Miami, Jorge Masvidal listened intently to the powerful voice of the late great Kimbo Slice.

The 18-year-old was asked to drive across his native Miami to take on Slice’s protege on that fateful day in 2004, a feared street fighter known as Ray, just hours away.

Masvidal is one of the biggest PPV draws in MMA today
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Jorge Masvidal was a street fighter, reality TV star, then 'beat the f***' out of Nate Diaz and says he's 'too much of a man' for Conor McGregor and wants Now shut up Colby Covington
Masvidal is one of the UFC superstars and had The Rock strap the BMF belt to his waist in 2019 – a vintage year for ‘Gamebred’
Getty Images – Getty

After tweaking his burger encore, “Gamebred” jumped into the backyard brawl unaware that his journey would take him to fight halfway around the world under the brightest lights.

Perhaps it’s fitting that the former street fighter won his first-ever UFC title fight on a week’s notice on “Fight Island” against one of the sport’s most dominant champions.

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

Twice he tried to take the belt from Usman and twice he failed and now, in his first fight since the title fight at UFC 261 in 2021, he returns for a grudge match against Colby Covington .

The journey from the back streets of Miami to box office superstardom is as entertaining and colorful as Masvidal’s career itself. But nothing was ever handed to Masvidal and he certainly paid his dues to reach the top.

Jorge Masvidal was a street fighter, reality TV star, then 'beat the f***' out of Nate Diaz and says he's 'too much of a man' for Conor McGregor and wants Now shut up Colby Covington
Masvidal’s last two fights have been losses – to one of the most dominant champions in UFC history
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His parents were both immigrants, his mother came to the United States from Peru and his father arrived from Cuba when he was 14 after traveling 90 miles at sea on a makeshift raft made from a tractor tire.

The youngster moved to 305 with his mother but saw little of Masvidal Sr who was jailed for 18 years for drug trafficking when his son was just four years old.

Despite being told his father was in the military, Masvidal learned his father’s whereabouts at age 13 and began visiting him regularly in prison.

His childhood years were enjoyable, if impoverished, with his hyperactive nature and desire to compete leading him to his very first fight.

Jorge Masvidal was a street fighter, reality TV star, then 'beat the f***' out of Nate Diaz and says he's 'too much of a man' for Conor McGregor and wants Now shut up Colby Covington
‘Gamebred’ battled for promotions around the world
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“I was about nine years old riding bikes with friends when we were stopped by a group of guys who were three or four years older than us,” he recalled in 2020.

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

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

“We started going there next to the cafeteria. I knew how to punch while watching kung fu movies, and landed a flurry, plus a headbutt that broke his nose.

Jorge Masvidal was a street fighter, reality TV star, then 'beat the f***' out of Nate Diaz and says he's 'too much of a man' for Conor McGregor and wants Now shut up Colby Covington
A narrow loss to Benson Henderson in 2015 was the story of his early career
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At 14, he was boxing after school and taking karate lessons to quench his thirst for violence. Although he started wrestling for his high school team and earned a starting spot, his grades kept him from competing.

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

A veteran of nearly 50 fights, the 37-year-old competed for Bellator, Strikeforce, Shark Fights and World Victory Road but never made it to the heights of the UFC.

He was considered a kind of companion; a guard in the upper echelons of the lightweight and then welterweight division. But a reality TV show saved his career.

Jorge Masvidal was a street fighter, reality TV star, then 'beat the f***' out of Nate Diaz and says he's 'too much of a man' for Conor McGregor and wants Now shut up Colby Covington
A stunning knockout of Donald Cerrone in 2017 revived his cause
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Jorge Masvidal was a street fighter, reality TV star, then 'beat the f***' out of Nate Diaz and says he's 'too much of a man' for Conor McGregor and wants Now shut up Colby Covington
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 him recharge his batteries.

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

“I have to be away from cell phones, people, music, everything we’re used to.

“And at that time I only heard one voice, which was mine. Maybe for some people it’s scary. I liked it. I was just getting to know myself, to understand what really motivates me, what I love so much about this sport, why I’m doing it.

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

Jorge Masvidal was a street fighter, reality TV star, then 'beat the f***' out of Nate Diaz and says he's 'too much of a man' for Conor McGregor and wants Now shut up Colby Covington
‘Gamebred’ recovered and secured KO victory over Till in London
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Jorge Masvidal was a street fighter, reality TV star, then 'beat the f***' out of Nate Diaz and says he's 'too much of a man' for Conor McGregor and wants Now shut up Colby Covington
Masvidal knocked out Ben Askren in five seconds at UFC 239
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“The Ben Askren fight was everything,” commentator Joe Rogan said. “It was the icing on the cake, and then of course the merking [sic] by Nate Diaz.

“He beat Nate Diaz’s f***. It was a crazy fight. It’s a monster. It is difficult for anyone to manage.

Masvidal himself continued, “That guy who fought that day; this guy is no longer with us. He rests in peace elsewhere.

“I buried this guy a long time ago. This other Gamebred no longer exists. This is my resurrection.

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A post shared by Jorge Masvidal (@gamebredfighter)

Conor McGregor once called a fight with himself a “red panty night” escaping the millions of dollars you can expect to win against him, but a fight against “Gamebred” has yet to happen.

Rumors suggested that UFC President Dana White himself blocked the fight, with Masvidal suggesting “they don’t want a murder charge against me” and that “the president said we can’t not compete because I am too much of a man”.

Instead, he has the chance to win the UFC welterweight title in his 51st professional fight this weekend against an opponent he knows well. He and Covington were once inseparable, now they can’t see each other.

Buckle up and enjoy the hype train for as long as it lasts, because characters like Masvidal don’t show up very often.




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