September 27, 2019

Jorge Masvidal: From Journeyman to Superstar In One Year

By Adam Martin

2019 has been an incredible year for Jorge Masvidal. The longtime MMA veteran was just a journeyman heading into the year, a very good fighter who couldn't get over the hump. This year, however, he has emerged as a superstar. It's one of the biggest success stories in recent MMA history, and the crazy thing is, he has the chance to get even more popular.

Masvidal's transition from journeyman status to a bonafide superstar role has been incredible to see unfold. It all started with his main event fight against Darren Till at UFC on ESPN+ 5 earlier this year. Masvidal hadn't fought in over a year since a decision loss to Stephen Thompson, and before that he lost a decision to Demian Maia. He had essentially become a gatekeeper in the UFC welterweight division, and the UFC matched him up against Till in London, likely assuming he would lose the fight.

But instead of losing to Till and seeing Till emerge as a superstar, Masvidal knocked Till out in devastating fashion, shocking the world in the process. It was the biggest win of Masvidal's career, and it earned him a high-profile fight against Ben Askren at UFC 239.

The Askren fight was where Masvidal truly became a star. He needed just five seconds to knock Askren out with a flying knee and set the UFC record for fastest knockout. It was an incredible victory that created a viral clip, and in just five seconds Masvidal went from a contender to one of the sport's most talked about stars.

The win over Askren (and the subsequent "super necessary" comments in the postfight press conference) gave Masvidal all sorts of new media attention, and he's run with it. He has shown off his incredible and hilarious personality, and made his case for being considered one of the best talkers in the sport. It's almost as though he's been a hidden gem for all these years and we never knew what we had with him. But the wins over Till and Askren gave Masvidal the attention he needed, and now he's taken that attention and run with it. He's great on the mic, and those mic skills have helped propel his career, and landing him his first UFC pay-per-view main event, a matchup against Nate Diaz at UFC 244.

The Masvidal vs. Diaz fight is a massive fight for the UFC. According to UFC President Dana White, it's trending to be one of the biggest PPV fights ever, just behind Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather. In many ways, Diaz transitioned from journeyman to superstar in a similar fashion to Masvidal. Before Diaz faced McGregor at UFC 196, he was just seen as a very good fighter. But once he defeated McGregor, he became a huge superstar. And now, a bout that just a couple of years ago would have been an exciting midcard matchup between two journeyman action fighters has become a battle to decide the sport's "BMF," and appears destined to do huge PPV numbers.

2019 has been a huge year for Jorge Masvidal, but it's not over yet. If you think he's a big superstar now, just wait until the Diaz fight. If Masvidal wins that fight, especially if it's an exciting fight that ends with a finish, he could very well become the biggest star in MMA. It's very possible that in less than one year's time Masvidal could go from relative obscurity to surpassing Conor McGregor as the biggest name in the sport. It's been an incredible ride for "Gamebred," and it's just getting started.

UFC 244
Nate Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal

UFC 244: Masvidal vs. Diaz takes place November 2, 2019 at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York.

Click HERE for more UFC 244 Pre-Fight Analysis


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