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UFC 251 video preview: ‘The Rock’ speaks about the ‘awakening’ of Jorge Masvidal and his Miami legend

Jorge Masvidal may have become one of UFC’s most recognizable names over the past 12 months, but the legend of “Gamebred” started long before any five-second knockouts, “BMF” title fights, and trips to “Fight Island.”

As Masvidal prepares to challenge Kamaru Usman for the UFC’s welterweight title on just six days notice later this evening (Sat., July 11, 2020) at UFC 251 live on ESPN+ PPV from Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, fight fans are able to take a look back at how he ended up becoming one of UFC’s biggest attractions. From backyard fighting on the streets of Miami to winning 2019’s Fighter of the Year award, “Gamebred” has come a long way over the years.

In an exclusive interview with UFC’s Megan Olivi (full replay HERE), former WWE superstar and Hollywood standout Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson talked about the recent rise of Masvidal and his ongoing legend status in South Florida. Johnson is a Miami native himself and has become close with Masvidal over the years. “The Rock” even presented Masvidal with the “BMF” title back at UFC 244 after he beat Nate Diaz.

“You know Jorge’s my boy,” began Johnson. “I got a lot of love and respect for Jorge. I liked him a lot, I like his team a lot, but I also thought that, you know, going into that fight, the BMF title fight, it was unique circumstances surrounding that. Obviously, it was a belt that was created by the company and they put this fight together between two “BMF’s” in Nate Diaz, of course, and Jorge Masvidal. So, I thought, you know, I thought that he handled the promotion of that fight brilliantly. I thought he went out and fought a tremendous fight and you know the telltale sign, you know, when I have the opportunity to spend time with a fighter’’s one thing...the energy is different pre-fight than it is post-fight whether they win or lose and it’s in that post-fight that I can get a really good sense of somebody’s DNA and their wiring and their makeup. So, I really enjoyed my time with him.

“Jorge and I have, we have ties going back to Miami. I’ve been in Miami, South Florida, since I was 18 years old. Played for the University of Miami. So there’s been the legend of Jorge Masvidal is very real down in Miami. Starting in the streets and street fighting but then also continue to hone his skills. So yes, he’s been around for a very long time, he’s done a lot for these rodeos, but I think something really interesting happened...and the fans felt this too as well, the company felt this too and I think everybody around Jorge felt like when somebody makes a distinct decision, the world views me one way, I want them to view me and interpret it now in a different way and there’s a few things that have to happen.

“So, mentally he changed, so when his mentality changed, his energetic shift changed, and physically it all changed and it all just came together and I think the timing of it too because timing is everything especially as you know when it comes to things like this, especially in sports, timing came together great. I think the world was ready for this new iteration of Jorge Masvidal and, you know, this awakening if you will. And then the bottom line is the guy went out and proved it.”

Masvidal may have only had six days to prepare for his first UFC title shot this weekend at UFC 251, but “Gamebred’s” experience should play a major role in his ability to disrupt Usman’s dominant presence inside of the cage. Despite entering the fight as a sizable underdog many believe Masvidal has what it takes to upset the champ on “Fight Island,” proving that he is worth every penny.

What say you, Manics? Will the legend of Jorge Masvidal continue to grow tonight at UFC 251?

Let’s hear it! will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 251 fight card this weekend RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+“Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the ESPN portion at 8 p.m. before the PPV main card start time on ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 251: “Usman vs. Masvidal” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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