Jorge Masvidal Through the years

Jorge Masvidal was born on November 12, 1984, to a Cuban father and a Peruvian mother. He was born and brought up in Miami.

Masvidal claims that when he was a child, his father escaped Cuba on a homemade raft and arrived in the Virgin Islands. From a young age, Masvidal participated in street brawls often.

Masvidal participated in wrestling at St. Brendan High School, but his grades prevented him from continuing to be eligible. He subsequently started karate and mixed martial arts training.


His first notable performances in combat sports took place in Kimbo Slice’s backyard promotion. Masvidal rose to fame because of the footage in which he spars with Kimbo’s protégé “Ray” using just his bare hands.

Masvidal vs Ray at Kimbo Slice’s backyard promotion

On May 24, 2003, Masvidal competed at HOOKnSHOOT: Absolute FC 3. He defeated his opponent to win his mixed martial arts debut by knockout.

On April 30, he faced off against Joe Lauzon, a participant from The Ultimate Fighter 5 and a current UFC combatant. The two competed in the main event of the Absolute Fighting Championships XII event. Masvidal ended up winning in the second round through technical knockout.

Jorge Masvidal vs Joe Lauzon

In the now-defunct BodogFIGHT organisation, Masvidal had a 3-0 record. This included decision wins over Keith Wisniewski and Steve Berger, as well as UFC veteran Yves Edwards.

Bellator signed Jorge Masvidal, who participated in their lightweight competition. Masvidal defeated Nick Agallar in Bellator 1 by way of a first-round TKO.

Masvidal vs Nick Agallar

At Bellator 12, Masvidal competed against Eric Reynolds and won via rear-naked choke submission in a 160 lb catchweight contest. Subsequently, he was released by the organization.

Jorge Masvidal vs Eric Reynolds

Early in 2011, Masvidal made a comeback to Strikeforce. He competed against Billy Evangelista at Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson. Masvidal won by unanimous decision in the match.

In December 2011, Masvidal competed against Gilbert Melendez for the Strikeforce Lightweight Championship at the Valley View Casino Centre in San Diego, California. He was defeated via unanimous decision.

Masvidal was transferred to the UFC in January 2013 when Strikeforce was dissolved. At UFC on Fox 7, he made his professional debut on April 20, 2013. Masvidal competed against Tim Means and ended up winning the match by unanimous decision.

Jorge Masvidal vs Tim Means

In November 2013, Masvidal competed in his third UFC match against Rustam Khabilov at UFC: Fight for the Troops 3. He was defeated by a unanimous decision in the back-and-forth match. Despite falling short, Masvidal received his first Fight of the Night bonus for the match.

Jorge Masvidal and Rustam Khabilov face off

At UFC on Fox 12, Masvidal took against Daron Cruickshank. Masvidal rebounded after getting hit in the first round and went on to win the match by a score of 29-28, 29-28, and 29-27.

Jorge Masvidal vs Daron Cruickshank

On September 27, 2014, a match between Jorge Masvidal and Bobby Green was supposed to take place at UFC 178. The match had previously been planned in 2012 under the Strikeforce banner but was later cancelled. The UFC confirmed that Masvidal will instead take on James Krause on August 14. Masvidal knocked down Krause in the second round and defeated him by unanimous decision.

Jorge Masvidal and James Krause during their preliminary card bout at UFC 178

In July 2015, Masvidal competed against Cezar Ferreira in a welterweight match at the TUF 21 Finale. He received a Performance of the Night bonus and won the bout through first-round knockout.

Jorge Masvidal punches Cezar Ferreira in his return to the welterweight division

At TUF Latin America 3 Finale in November 2016, Masvidal and Kelvin Gastelum were tentatively mentioned as potential opponents. But on September 14, Gastelum was dropped in favour of a match with former lightweight title contender Donald Cerrone at UFC 205.

Masvidal was then completely taken off the card and competed against Jake Ellenberger the following month at TUF 24 Finale. He eventually beat Ellenberger in the first round via TKO.

Jorge Masvidal vs Jake Ellenberger
Masvidal celebrating his win

At UFC on Fox 23, Masvidal competed against Donald Cerrone in January 2017. In the last seconds of the first round, he almost ended the match by dropping Cerrone. Masvidal finally won the bout through TKO in the second round after scoring a second knockdown. Masvidal received his second Performance of the Night bonus for the victory.

Jorge Masvidal vs Donald Cerrone

In November 2017, Masvidal competed against Stephen Thompson at UFC 217. He was defeated by unanimous decision in the one-sided contest.

Stephen Thompson defeats Jorge Masvidal

Masvidal competed against Darren Till in March 2019. They competed in the main event of UFC Fight Night 147 after a 16-month break. Till was knocked out in the second round. Masvidal also received his third Performance of the Night bonus and second Fight of the Night bonus.

Jorge Masvidal vs Darren Till

In July 2019, Masvidal and Ben Askren squared off at UFC 239. Both combatants charged in at once, and Masvidal knocked out Askren five seconds into the first round with a flying knee. The knockout broke Duane Ludwig’s record for the quickest knockout in UFC history. Masvidal received the Performance of the Night award for this victory. Masvidal then agreed to a new, eight-fight deal with the UFC.

Jorge Masvida lands a flying knee on Ben Askren

In November 2019, Masvidal and Nate Diaz squared off in UFC 244’s main event. In a rare occurrence, UFC President Dana White revealed that the main event’s contest was for the prestigious BMF (Baddest Motherf**ker) title. Masvidal won by technical knockout (TKO) when the match was stopped between rounds three and four. The cage-side physician noticed a cut above Diaz’s right eye. This decision turned out to be quite controversial among fans.

In July 2020, it was revealed that Masvidal would stand in as a substitute for Gilbert Burns, who had tested positive for COVID-19. Masvidal was to take on Kamaru Usman for the UFC Welterweight Championship at UFC 251 with less than a week’s notice. Masvidal ended up losing the match via unanimous decision.

In April 2021, Masvidal competed in a rematch with Kamaru Usman for the UFC Welterweight Championship at UFC 261. He suffered his first UFC stoppage defeat as he was knocked out in the second round of the bout.

Kamaru Usman sleeps Jorge Masvidal with one punch at UFC 261

In March 2022, Masvidal and Colby Covington squared off at UFC 272. He ended up losing the match by a unanimous decision.

Covington and Masvidal used to be good friends and roommates. After a lopsided victory over Demian Maia and a career-saving post-bout interview, Covington was set up for an interim championship bout. He ended up winning the match with Masvidal in his corner.

However, their relationship soon deteriorated. Masvidal said that Covington only gave veteran trainer Paulinho Hernandez $5,000 instead of $17,500 of his rumoured $350,000 prize money for earning the interim title.

Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington with coach Paulinho Hernandez

Since then, Covington has refuted the accusations and claimed he received just half of the claimed bout purse. Masvidal went so far as to say that he used his own money to pay Hernandez’s coach the remaining $12,500. This disagreement sparked an irreparable rift between the closest friends.

In April 2023, Masvidal and Gilbert Burns squared off at UFC 287. In the post-bout interview, he declared his retirement from combat sports after being defeated by a unanimous decision.

Jorge Masvidal loses to Gilbert Burns

Masvidal started a bare-knuckle MMA organisation by the name of Gamebred Fighting Championship in April 2021. Additionally, he also started iKON FC MMA promotion. The organization would include both UFC veterans and up-and-coming competitors.

Masvidal is married to Iman Kawa, a Jordanian-American businesswoman and procurement expert who is the sister of MMA agent Malki Kawa. The couple has three children together—two girls and a boy.

Jorge Masvidal and his wife Iman Kawa
Jorge Masvidal exits the octagon after announcing his retirement following his unanimous decision loss to Gilbert Burns

Masvidal saw his imprisoned father often in his early years. At the age of 14, his father fled Cuba and came to the United States as a refugee. Since then, he has committed several crimes, including homicide.

Masvidal with his father

Masvidal constantly tried to separate himself from the path that his father pursued despite the difficult childhood. The MMA champion has never been eager to discuss his personal run-ins with the authorities.

However, Colby Covingon said that Masvidal had previously been arrested. In an interview with ESPN, Covington said that Masvidal was a “thief” who did time in jail for auto theft.

Additionally, Masvidal was also accused of assaulting Covington after their UFC 272 match. Masvidal was accused of running up on Covington as he was leaving a restaurant and striking him twice, breaking one of Covington’s teeth and injuring his wrist.

Masvidal was arrested two days after the incident and charged with one count of criminal mischief and aggravated aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm. After turning himself up to Miami Beach police, Masvidal was held at Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Centre on a $15,000 bail before being released.