CEBU

Quijano: Gamebred Fighter steps in at UFC 251

Last round

YOU'VE got to give it to Jorge Masvidal. The sport of Mixed Martial Arts was made for guys like him. I can’t think of anybody else more apt for his ring epithet “Gamebred Fighter,” than him.

He started out as a street fighter. Look him up on YouTube -- his street banging days are well documented. He bare-knuckle fights guys for cash in strangers’ backyards.

After fighting around the world, he ended up in the UFC with the Strikeforce acquisition. He didn’t have the most glossy of records when he arrived, but when you fight in the UFC, everything you do is exponentially amplified one thousand percent.

So he slowly fought his way from being a mid-card fighter to being an instant superstar with that flying knee knockout of the erstwhile undefeated Ben Askren at UFC 239 in just five seconds, the fastest knockout in the UFC history.

Downtown guys like me naturally gravitate towards underdog dudes like Jorge. Hell, even his name Masvidal -- loosely translated from Spanish means “more life,” which is fittingly appropriate for a man of his temperament and capacities.

USMAN. Compare him to a guy a like Kamaru Usman, his opponent for UFC 251 scheduled this Sunday.

Nothing against the dude, he’s a terrific fighter with cat-quick reflexes. In fact, he has all the tools to knock out Masvidal this coming Sunday.

But I’m not talking about talent here. I’m talking about attitude. That BMF attitude.

He was a decorated wrestler in college and even became the NCAA Division II national champion. Back then he was more popularly known as “Marty” Usman.

When he turned pro, he joined and eventually emerged the champion in “The Ultimate Fighter Season 21” and earned that six-figure contract with the UFC.

It was also when he turned pro that he began to connect more with his African heritage, discarding the American sounding Marty in favor of his birthname.

I’m not saying his road to glory wasn’t tough. It’s just more traditional and well paved, compared to Masvidal’s.

I also sense some facetiousness in Usman. You see, Masvidal is taking this fight on six days notice after Usman’s original opponent Gilbert Burns tested positive for Covid-19.

Interviewed about his reaction when he learned Masvidal was stepping in, Usman was already making excuses. He claimed that he was ready, but repeatedly made reference to the fact that he had already gotten off his diet for a day after he learned the Burns fight fell through.

When you do that, you’re not ready to face “The Gamebred fighter.”

LAST ROUND. It’s on Hon. Judge Joy Redoble of RTC Carcar City Branch 77, who celebrated her birthday yesterday. Cheers!


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