Jorge Masvidal: Born Again
By Ben Jessop
Jorge Masvidal, resurrected once more, has risen to the very top of one of the UFC’s most prolific divisions – now sat at #3 in the world for the welterweight division – it is impossible to deny Masvidal’s ruthlessness in collecting scalps on his way to the top.
Back in June 2019, ahead of his fight with Ben Askren, I wrote a piece on Masvidal detailing how his entire life had pathed a way for him to become one of the baddest, realest fighters not only in the UFC but in the world.
Coming from humble beginnings, streaming backyard fights to YouTube along with cult legend Kimbo Slice to headlining major UFC events with the entire world watching. The rise of Jorge Masvidal, although a long time coming, is one of the best stories in all of MMA.
Rewinding to July 7th 2019, T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas – UFC 239. One of the best cards of 2019 hosted what is now one of the most watched fights in UFC history. In true Masvidal style, another scalp was his. Five seconds after the bell rang. A destructive flying knee left Ben Askren stiff on the canvas, and with two huge blows to an already out cold Askren it was impossible to misunderstand the viciousness of Masvidal.
It’s undeniably the most talked about KO of 2019 and having already silenced the home crowd by KO’ing Darren Till earlier in the year, this was the exact outcome Masvidal needed to springboard him to the meteoric fame he know finds himself in.
Masvidal has never been shy about his end game being the financial gain. He’s been a prize fighter his entire life and having earnt over one million dollars from three fights in 2019, people are beginning to think money no longer plays the role it once did – set for life and now arguably fighting for the fun of it only exacerbates the notion that Masvidal is the real deal.
The purses collected by Masvidal in 2019 compared to his last loss to Stephen Thompson in 2017 showcases his rise to fame and his ability to sell PPV. He earnt $81,000 against Wonderboy, though in 2019 he earnt $247,000 to knockout Till and $265,000 to knock out Askren.
The return of Nate Diaz happened at the most perfect time for Masvidal. Nate Diaz is one of the biggest stars in the UFC with an enormous cult following that we were with him before his win over Conor McGregor.
Diaz returned to the octagon on the 18th August to face off against Anthony Pettis – despite a three round war, Diaz had his hand raised and his return to the UFC was secured and finalised. The gangster from Stockton was back.
Nate Diaz has always been known as one of the most gangster fighters in the UFC, surrounded by controversy and an attitude that sticks a big middle finger to the powers that be, Diaz’s callout to Jorge Masvidal made all the sense in the world and fight fans went into meltdown.
Two of the baddest men on the planet, neither scared to throw down and engage in all out war, stepping into an octagon was too good of an opportunity for the UFC to miss.
The marketing team at the UFC grabbed this callout with both hands and before we knew it, the BMF title had been officially born and a physical belt forged.
Despite dividing opinions of die-hard fight fans, some of whom called the title corny, and some even suggesting it belittled the importance of the real world champion title, the UFC pressed forward with a promotion campaign that was rivalled only by McGregor vs Aldo or Diaz.
November 3rd rolled around, MSG, New York. A packed venue and an absolute killer of a fight card, hosting the likes of Kevin Lee, Derrick Lewis, Stephen Thompson, Darren Till, Kelvin Gastelum and of course, Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz.
The fight world held their breaths in anticipation and despite a flurry of incredible fights, including that famous knock out of Gregor Gillespie by Kevin Lee – the world had all their attention on that BMF title fight.
The fight was stopped at the end of the third round due to a doctor’s stoppage handing a TKO to Masvidal. Both fighters showed their passion in the post-fight interviews for having a rematch but if people were honest from the get go, Masvidal was on top for every minute of the fight before the stoppage, regardless of Diaz’s ability to put unbelievable pressure on in the fourth and fifth round.
Masvidal pocketed a cool $520,000 for the fight against Diaz which is by far his biggest payday for any one fight and since having the belt wrapped around his waist by none other than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson he’s been living a life of luxury, enjoying his victory media tour but people should not assume just because he’s resting on his laurels.
There is no doubt Masvidal will still be training day in and day out, he will be gunning to fight as many times as possible in 2020 and is now one of the biggest PPV draws in the UFC. Despite just missing out on the big payday of McGregor to Cowboy Cerrone, there is no doubt that 2020 is going to be a very prosperous year for Masvidal.
Going back and forth with the controversial Colby Covington, it is beginning to make sense for 2020 after Colby lost is title shot against the seemingly untouchable champ Kamaru Usman.
People are also calling for Leon Edwards to get his shot at the title but with Tyron Woodley still sat at the number one slot, it’s going to be a case of seeing what the UFC matchmakers want to do. Masvidal vs Edwards make sense as well, after their backstage confrontation after Masvidal KO’d Till in London.
No matter what the outcome is, Masvidal is set to have a fantastic 2020 and will continue to be a huge PPV draw for the UFC and now confirmed as the baddest in the game, the world is at his feet. Looking at where Masvidal was just two years ago, and looking at where he is now is nothing short of incredible.
Masvidal’s life is one of a kind, a tale of hustle, grind, blood, sweat, tears and most importantly money. He has risen once again and the resurrection is complete. Street Jesus is here to stay.