Whether Jorge Masvidal is being hit or hit by a who's who of UFC greats, he always stands up and talks. But the South Beach native always leaves his audience speechless when he talks about another of his passions — hitting the slopes.
"Being from Miami, no one thinks I can ski," Masvidal says of his snow activities. "I'm actually pretty decent at it. I went to Utah with a group of friends about seven years ago. And I fell in love with her.”
Skiing is just one of the many traits attributed to "Gamebred," the charismatic trash talker who went from journeyman fighter to one of the most recognizable faces in the UFC. Masvidal is perhaps best known for his 2019 TKO against Nate Diaz to win the fictional Baddest Mother F***er crown at UFC 244, or his high-flying five-second knockout against Ben Askren in UFC 239 im same year.
He's on a losing streak in two fights - both against current welterweight champion Kamaru Usman - but is hoping for a win at UFC 272, where he and rival Colby Covington will be the main event on March 5.
But when he's not fighting, he's training - or actively engaged in a range of other interests you'd associate with Masvidal. From skiing to chilling on South Beach, Masvidal has teamed up with Recuerdo for its own line of mezcal. “I only drink my mezcal – recuerdo,” he says. "I'm very proud of that. I got into the mezcal game about three years ago. And man it was great. I love it man!”
He's also an avid card collector, so much so that after seeing his own image finally included in a panini collection a few years ago, Masvidal opened his own card shop at 305.
In other words, Masvidal is always working as he set up his UFC fight against a former training partner-turned-bitter rival. After rolling on the mats with him while training together on the American Top Team before Covington left for MMA Masters.
"Things have definitely changed since we were last on the mats," says Masvidal. “But he's basically the same fighter in many aspects. He will not dish out heavy blows. His main focus is grabbing a leg and squeezing as hard as he can and wearing down the next guy, those are the things he loves to do. So I'm not too worried about this guy man."
Being one win away from a potential title shot or his success outside the Octagon is no accident once you've studied Masvidal's work routine. Explaining his winning strategy, Masvidal says that through non-stop research, laps, repetition and relaxation, the formula is for everyone - from athletes to entrepreneurs.
Mike van Dalen
Practice (and keep practicing) to perfection
In this game you never stop learning. The day you do this is the day you stop making progress. The moment I thought, "I know everything in sports," I screwed up. That's it.
For me it gets a lot of repetition because I'm a slow learner. One thing I discovered when I was young was that if someone takes 20 reps to get a move right, it takes me 100 reps to do the same move down. But once I finally have it, I've got it for life. It's in my system forever.
I knew I had to have a good work ethic because I was going to see all the guys in the gym doing a brand new move and I was like, 'I can't figure out how this move works.' So I would put in a lot of mat time all the time . And it only worked on these trains. Work work work! Repeat, rinse, wash and do again and again. And eventually it would click.
Punching comes a lot more natural to me than wrestling or jiujitsu - man, I've got a drill for it. And because I need to keep digging, it's created a great work ethic for me. I'm never afraid of work.
Take your routine with you
Being on the road sometimes, especially when a match is coming up, definitely messes up my timing. When I get home, I slap people in the morning and run sprints in the evening. If I have to travel it won't be the same. But I will go to the gym, work out for about two hours and then go to the sauna for about 30 to 40 minutes. As soon as I'm back in Miami everything will be business as usual.
I will usually do [travel days] my bright days I'll work super hard Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, shrink that one day and then make it back up over the next three days.
On a light day I'll bang the bag for about 20-30 minutes to sharpen a few techniques, nothing crazy. Then I sit down with a partner and practice specific moves and techniques to work on my rhythm. Then I grab a jump rope and walk for about 15 minutes. Then stretching, some shadow boxing, then off to the sauna and sweating out what little I may have eaten.
Things could be very different back in Miami. An easy day would be like working on a few specific positions and details for an hour and just repeating it over and over. Easy but a lot of work on my head and positioning, whether I'm really good or bad at the movement, just keep going over it.
Mike van Dalen
Learn how to unleash your inner animal
Many of us are born with a killer instinct. You gotta be like a shark, if you smell blood, grab it. I, if I hurt you, I will turn you off.
Developing a killer instinct is mental. You have to try to see yourself in these scenarios – I really like doing that. Having the opportunity to study your opponent will help you turn on the switch.
For example: if you're in jiujitsu, let's assume he's in your cover, and for some reason this guy likes to put his arm out. You start to develop the mindset that if he sticks out that arm, you're going to break him - you're not going to give him a chance. This is the beginning of the development of this killer instinct.
But if you've tried 100 mph and he somehow got out, then immediately make the next move — in your mind, you won't stop until you've KO'ed him. And you force it on yourself. That's where everything begins. You have to constantly tell yourself how to do it and live it in the gym. Then take it with you from the gym for the world to see.
Expand your passions too
I collected Marvel Comics cards as a kid. I didn't have the biggest collection, it was just a small collection. I've always liked the Marvel cards, but about seven, eight years ago, Panini (paniniamerica.net) started making battle cards and I was like, Wow! I told myself I'll make it to that level and get onto one of those maps one day, and I did.
Sure enough one thing led to another and I was really interested in the trading card business so I opened a card shop [Cards and Cuts] in Miami. I don't know enough about the other sports - I know just enough - but I saw that the world was so deep into the trading card world, so I delved into all aspects of it.
I don't have a single prize possession in my collection, but I have to say Thanos from Marvel's Avengers. I've had it for a while, it's kind of a kid thing. I love my own map and maybe some other fighters, but having Thanos was pretty darn cool.
I don't throw out, but if I had to throw one I'd throw this punk I'm going to fight on March 5th - his card sucks. Actually, there are a lot of shit talkers in my weight class, but I'm playing their cards. I won't tear them up - because that would make them rarer. I'm just giving them away just to mess up their economy.
Know your limits, make adjustments and enjoy
Growing up, when I was about 7 to 13 years old, I did a lot of inline skating. I would do halfpipes and jump on rails. I liked, five flights of stairs, flipping my skates, stuff like that.
I got a lot of shin bangers and fell on the rails and got my nuts split in half, stuff like that. That's why I never got too good at skating - I was too much of a pussy.
I respect skaters so much because it's such an extreme sport - the concrete is unforgiving. I'd rather be hit by a human all day than fall on the concrete.
But once I started skiing, I fell in love with it.
I was there twice in December. I was in Colorado for a week, where I usually make two to four trips a year. And I always go on a trip with my kids around Christmas.