Jorge Masvidal (born November 12, 1984) is an American professional mixed martial artist. He currently competes in the Welterweight division for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Masvidal has been competing professionally since 2003; he has also competed for Bellator, Strikeforce, Shark Fights, and World Victory Road. He holds the record for the fastest knockout in UFC history, at 5 seconds and he holds the UFC ‘BMF’ Championship belt. As of July 14, 2020, he is #4 in the UFC welterweight rankings.
Early life and education
Masvidal was born and raised in Miami, to a Cuban father and Peruvian mother. According to Masvidal, his father left Cuba in a self-made raft when he was young, ending up at Virgin Islands. Masvidal’s father was later imprisoned for more than twenty years for manslaughter and drug trafficking. Masvidal was often involved in street fighting from a young age. There are videos on YouTube of his fights defeating Kimbo Slice’s protégé “Ray.” Masvidal competed in wrestling at St. Brendan High School, but failed to stay eligible because of his grades. He then began training in karate and mixed martial arts.
Mixed martial arts career
Masvidal won his mixed martial arts debut by knockout on May 24, 2003 at HOOKnSHOOT: Absolute Fighting Championships 3. He fought in the main event of the Absolute Fighting Championships XII event held on April 30, against current UFC competitor and The Ultimate Fighter 5 contestant Joe Lauzon. Masvidal won via technical knock out in the second round.
Masvidal garnered a 3–0 record in the now-defunct BodogFIGHT promotion, including decision victories over Keith Wisniewski, Steve Berger and a head kick knockout of PRIDE Fighting Championships and UFC veteran Yves Edwards.
Masvidal was signed by Bellator and entered their lightweight tournament in April 2009. Masvidal won his first fight via TKO in the first round. However, he was defeated in the semi-finals by Toby Imada at Bellator 5, who won via inverted triangle choke submission in the third round. This upset loss was acknowledged by Sherdog and MMA Junkie as Submission of the Year.
Masvidal faced and defeated Eric Reynolds at Bellator 12 in a 160 lb Catchweight bout via rear-naked choke submission. He was rumored to be fighting again but was released by the organization.
Masvidal moved up to the welterweight division to fight Paul Daley at Shark Fights 13 in Amarillo, Texas in September 2010. The bout was later made a catchweight of 171.75 lbs. after Daley failed to make weight. Daley defeated Masvidal via unanimous decision. After this performance, Masvidal signed with Strikeforce.
Masvidal returned to Strikeforce in early 2011, facing Billy Evangelista at Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson. He won the fight via unanimous decision.
Masvidal then fought former Elite XC Lightweight Champion K.J. Noons in a number one contender’s bout. Masvidal won via decision.
Masvidal faced Gilbert Melendez for the Strikeforce Lightweight Championship at Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal on December 17, 2011, at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, CA. He lost the fight via unanimous decision.
Following the championship bout, Masvidal fought Justin Wilcox at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy on July 14, 2012. He won the fight via split decision (29–28, 28–29, and 30–27).
Masvidal was expected to face Bobby Green on November 3, 2012, at Strikeforce: Cormier vs. Mir, but the bout was canceled along with the event itself. Masvidal was later expected to face Pat Healy at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine but had to pull out due to a back injury.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
Following the dissolution of Strikeforce in January 2013, Masvidal was brought over to the UFC. He made his debut against Tim Means on April 20, 2013, at UFC on Fox 7. Masvidal was successful in his debut, winning the fight via unanimous decision.
For his second bout with the promotion, Masvidal made a quick return to the Octagon as he replaced Reza Madadi in a bout against Michael Chiesa on July 27, 2013, at UFC on Fox 8. Despite being dropped in the first round by punches, Masvidal took control in the second round and won via submission.
For his third UFC bout, Masvidal faced Rustam Khabilov on November 6, 2013, at UFC: Fight for the Troops 3. He lost the back-and-forth fight via unanimous decision. Despite the loss, the bout did earn Masvidal his first Fight of the Night.
Masvidal fought longtime veteran Pat Healy at UFC on Fox 11. He won the fight via unanimous decision (30–27, 30–27, and 29–28).
Masvidal faced Daron Cruickshank on July 26, 2014, at UFC on Fox 12. After being dropped by a punch in the first round, Masvidal recovered and won the fight via unanimous decision (29–28, 29–28, and 29–27).
A bout with Bobby Green, first scheduled under the Strikeforce banner in 2012 before being scrapped, was expected to take place on September 27, 2014, at UFC 178. However, on August 14, the UFC announced that Masvidal would instead face James Krause. Masvidal won the fight via unanimous decision (30–27, 29–28, and 30–27).
Masvidal was expected to face Norman Parke on January 18, 2015, at UFC Fight Night 59. However, Masvidal pulled out of the bout citing an injury and was replaced by Gleison Tibau.
Masvidal was briefly linked to a bout with Bobby Green on April 4, 2015, at UFC Fight Night 63. However, shortly after the fight was announced by the UFC, Green pulled out of the bout citing an injury and was replaced by Benson Henderson. In turn, Henderson was removed from the bout to serve as event headliner at UFC Fight Night 60. Masvidal eventually faced Al Iaquinta at the event. He lost the bout in a closely contested split decision. 13 of 15 media outlets scored the bout in favor of Masvidal.
Masvidal faced Cezar Ferreira in a welterweight bout on July 12, 2015, at The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale. He won the fight via knockout in the first round, also earning a Performance of the Night bonus.
Masvidal was expected to face Dong Hyun Kim on November 28, 2015, at UFC Fight Night 79. However, on November 14, it was announced that Masvidal would instead face Benson Henderson at the event after his scheduled opponent Thiago Alves pulled out of their fight. Masvidal lost the back-and-forth fight via split decision.
Masvidal faced Lorenz Larkin on May 29, 2016, at UFC Fight Night 88. He lost the back-and-forth fight via split decision.
Masvidal was expected to face Siyar Bahadurzada on July 30, 2016, at UFC 201. However, Bahadurzada pulled out of the bout on July 12 citing an illness and was replaced by Ross Pearson. He won the fight via unanimous decision.
Masvidal was briefly linked to a bout with Kelvin Gastelum on November 5, 2016, at The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 3 Finale. However, on September 14, Gastelum was removed in favor of a fight against former lightweight title challenger Donald Cerrone at UFC 205, one week later. Subsequently, Masvidal was removed from the card entirely and instead faced Jake Ellenberger the following month at The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale. He went on to defeat Ellenberger in the first round via TKO. It was ruled a TKO after Ellenberger’s toe was caught in the fence and the referee called a stop to the action resulting in the end of the fight.
Masvidal faced Donald Cerrone on January 28, 2017, at UFC on Fox 23. He dropped Cerrone and nearly finished the fight in the last seconds of the first round, and eventually won the fight via TKO in the second round after scoring another knockdown. The win also earned Masvidal his second Performance of the Night bonus.
Masvidal faced off against Demian Maia at UFC 211 on May 13, 2017. Masvidal lost the fight via split decision.
Masvidal faced Stephen Thompson on November 4, 2017, at UFC 217. He lost the one sided fight via unanimous decision.
After a 16-month layoff, Masvidal faced Darren Till on March 16, 2019, in the main event at UFC Fight Night 147. Although dropped in the first round, he went on to win the fight via knockout in the second round. The win also earned Masvidal his second Fight of the Night and third Performance of the Night bonus awards.
Masvidal faced Ben Askren on July 6, 2019 at UFC 239. He won the fight via a flying knee 5 seconds into the first round. The knockout was the fastest knockout in UFC history, breaking the record set by Duane Ludwig. This win earned him the Performance of the Night award, and it earned him the 2019 Knockout of the Year by multiple MMA media outlets. Subsequently, Masvidal signed a new, eight-fight contract with the UFC.
Masvidal faced Nate Diaz on November 2, 2019 in the main event at UFC 244. In a unique situation, UFC President Dana White confirmed that the headlining bout was for a celebratory “Baddest Motherfucker” (‘BMF’) belt. Masvidal won the fight via TKO due to the doctor stoppage between rounds three and four when the cageside physician determined a cut over Diaz’s right eye rendered him unable to continue. While the decision was controversial among fight fans, Brian Suttere, a Mayo Clinic-affiliated physician, stated that he agreed with the decision.
On 5 July 2020, it was reported that Masvidal had stepped in on less than a week’s notice to face Kamaru Usman for the UFC Welterweight Championship at UFC 251, replacing the original challenger Gilbert Burns, who had tested positive for COVID-19 on 3 July 2020. Prior to the fight, he signed a new, multi-fight contract with the UFC. He lost the fight via unanimous decision. The card reportedly generated 1.3 million pay-per-view buys in the United States, the most since UFC 229 in October 2018.
A rematch for the UFC Welterweight Championship bout against Kamaru Usman is scheduled on April 24, 2021 at UFC 261.