Mixed martial artists come from every corner of the globe, bearing a variety of styles. Sometimes, fighters are products of their environment, favoring disciplines prevalent in the country or state from which they hail. Various regions of the United States are considered factories for great fighters, though that certainly is not the case with each state. In this weekly Sherdog.com series, the spotlight will shine on the best mixed martial artist of all-time from each of the 50 states. Fighters do not necessarily need to be born in a given state to represent it; they simply need to be associated with it. For example, reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight titleholder Robbie Lawler may have been born in San Diego, but few would recognize him as a Californian.
When average MMA fans think of Florida, their immediate thoughts turn to the idea that the southeastern United States is loaded with quality fighters. That may be true, but not many can call the “Sunshine State” their own, despite the presence of the star-studded American Top Team and Blackzilians camps.
That is where Jorge Masvidal steps in. The Miami native has carved out a solid career in mixed martial arts over the years, bouncing between the lightweight and welterweight divisions while competing on some of the sport’s biggest stages. A veteran of Strikeforce, Bellator MMA and Sengoku, Masvidal has spent his last nine fights in the UFC.
“Gamebred” has not yet captured a world championship but did challenge for the Strikeforce lightweight crown in 2011, losing a five-round decision to Gilbert Melendez. Masvidal’s resume includes wins over Ryan Schultz, K.J. Noons, Yves Edwards, Joe Lauzon, Pat Healy, Satoru Kitaoka, Tim Means, Michael Chiesa and James Krause. The 31-year-old has not fought since dropping a split decision to former UFC and World Extreme Cagefighting champion Benson Henderson on Nov. 28 in Seoul, a defeat that moved his career record to 29-10.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Alex Caceres, Cole Miller, Luigi Fioravanti