(‘Gamebred’ uglies up KJ Noons at Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum. Photo via ESPN.)
By Jonathan Shrager
Jorge Masvidal‘s MMA career has taken him to Russia, Japan, Costa Rica, and the Playboy Mansion — not bad for a guy who got his start in bare-knuckle fights in his native Miami. Now riding back-to-back victories over Billy Evangelista and KJ Noons under the Strikeforce banner, Masvidal has been honored with a lightweight title shot against Gilbert Melendez at the promotion’s upcoming card on December 17th in San Diego. We got in touch with Masvidal recently to learn more about his streetfighting pedigree, his unconventional fighter’s lifestyle, and why “The Mansion” isn’t as exciting as you’d think. Enjoy…
CAGEPOTATO.COM: I wanted to start off by discussing your streetfighting past. Was it those underground brawls that made you consider the sport of MMA as a profession?
JORGE MASVIDAL: No. Before I did the streetfighting I knew I wanted to do MMA. I knew I wanted to get paid. I didn’t want to be a streetfighting king or nothing. I wanted to fight the best in the world and get paid for my talent. I knew since I was a kid at the age of 13 or 14 that I wanted to fight. I wanted to box, but I was also in love with wrestling. I wish I could have done both, but I realized I could only be competitive in one of them. Then MMA came along and I knew that was the one. At the time I was streetfighting, there wasn’t really an amateur MMA scene. I did that when I was about 18 or 19. They asked me to do it and I was like ‘why not?’
Having been involved in something so raw as backyard brawling, you must experience relatively little fear stepping into the regulated industry of MMA?
Oh yeah, big time. In MMA, I don’t got to worry about getting stabbed, or nobody shooting at me if I beat them up. That’s a big positive. In a streetfight, anything can happen at any random moment. If someone gets upset in the crowd, or you’ve caused somebody to lose money, they can pull a knife or a gun on you. You always get an adrenaline-rush when you step into an MMA cage, but it’s nothing like the concerns you have when streetfighting, when you’re worried about avoiding weapons.