UFC 251 Preview: Jorge Masvidal Ready For The Next Chapter Of His Long Journey
The past year+ has been a memorable one for BMF Champion Jorge Masvidal. Gaining recognition after 15+ years in MMA, “Gamebred” has found his way to a shot at the UFC Welterweight Title. It would be fitting that the fight would be on an island during a pandemic, as the 35-year-old has made it a career of fighting in unique locations.
Masvidal (35-13) will face off against Kamaru Usman this Saturday, July 11 for the latter’s championship. Taking place on “Fight Island”, UFC 251 is the culmination of all of Masvidal’s hard work. Since 2003, Masvidal is ready to prove his name belongs with some of the all-time greats.
“It has been a roller coaster,” Masvidal stated during UFC media day, via CBS Sports. “It has been ups and downs, and downs and ups. But it has been an amazing journey,” Masvidal said. “I love it, I love what I do and that’s why I’m still here. I have double the years professionally than most of these guys do. That’s not an opinion, that’s more of a fact. So I got more KOs than a lot of these guys have victories because I love what I do.”
The journey of Masvidal is somewhat legendary to most fans and fighters. Starting in backyard fights with the late Kimbo Slice, Masvidal would eventually make his way to BodogFIGHT. While with the promotion, he’s fought on the beaches of Costa Rica and in Russia. In a small stint with Strikeforce, Masvidal fought inside the Playboy Mansion. In just his third fight with the UFC, Masvidal fought in Virginia under the Fort Campbell banner, competing for the troops.
With the UFC, Masvidal is 12-6 and is on a three-fight win streak. He gained acclaim for beating Darren Till via knockout, and really took off when he beat Ben Askren at UFC 239, earning the fastest KO in UFC history in five seconds. With the President watching and The Rock by his side, Masvidal won the BMF Belt from Nate Diaz inside Madison Square Garden. Now, he has a chance to enhance his legacy with a win over Usman.
“I have been doing this 16 years professionally and it’s going to be 17 in a couple months,” Masvidal went on to say. “What an exclamation point. They say this guy is the best in the world and he is the worst style possible for me out of the top 10 guys. It’s all these things going against me before I get in that cage so leaving with that belt is going to be pretty cool.”
Usman (16-1) is on a fifteen-fight win streak dating back to 2013. He beat Tyron Woodley for the title at UFC 235 and defended it against Colby Covington at UFC 245 in December. The two were rumored to face one another in February when they were involved in a brawl during Super Bowl media week. Initially, Gilbert Burns was offered a championship opportunity during Masvidal’s quarrel with the UFC over pay. With Burns testing positive for COVID-19, Masvidal was able to secure the deal and the fight he wanted.
Masvidal had to drop 20 pounds six days before the fight. While it was a challenge, he was able to get it done, even after a detour to get pizza. Now, he believes he is in the right mindset to take home the gold and glory.
“My skill set is better than him on any day of the week so I just have to go out and prove it,” Masvidal stated. “Besides, him having 17 different personalties and me not knowing which one is going to show up to fight, I think he’s weak-minded.”
UFC 251 on “Fight Island” will be held on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. FIGHT SPORTS will be providing coverage of the event, with the main card set for 10 p.m. ET.