When an individual decides to become a professional MMA fighter, it is a massive decision in that person’s life. Although getting to punch people in the face for a living is awesome, there are also downsides to fighting. Injuries can occur at any time, fights can be canceled, and losses can cause lead to unemployment.

For Jorge Masvidal, the downside has been the struggle to stay active inside the cage.

You have to go back almost a year ago, to July 14, 2012, to find the last fight in which “Gamebred” competed. That fight was against Justin Wilcox at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy, where Masvidal won by split decision.

But even with the win over Wilcox, the remainder of 2012 was a difficult one for Masvidal. Injuries, along with not being able to find a match-up, took a toll on him up until he got the call to fight at UFC on Fox 7, which takes place Saturday at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.

Masvidal (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

“Man, I’m so happy to get back in the cage,” Masvidal told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “I like to be busy. I was mad—I hurt my back and had to pull from the [Pat] Healy fight. I’ve been wanting to fight him; he called me out.

“Plus, this is how I feed my family you know. Not working for eight months makes taking care of my family really hard.”

The back injury wasn’t the only thing that set Masvidal back under the Strikeforce promotion, though. The organization failed to put on events consistently up until it was shut down following its final card on Jan. 12, which left Masvidal, among other fighters, out of action.

“They just didn’t have enough shows to keep us all busy. It was a really tough position for everyone to be in,” Masvidal said. “[But] I’m so happy to be in the UFC now, and hopefully they can be kept busier.”

Despite the lack of a consistent fight schedule during his time with Strikeforce, the lightweight can look back on his four fights with the promotion as a success. He went 3-1, with his only loss coming against champion Gilbert Melendez.

“Being in Strikeforce is what got me to the UFC, so I have to be thankful for that,” he said. “When I was able to fight, I had great shows in Strikeforce. My only regret is my inability to perform in the Melendez fight. That was a big letdown for me.”

With the Strikeforce situation behind him, Masvidal can now look forward to what his career has in store for him in the future. The UFC decided to bring over a majority of the lightweights in Strikeforce, Masvidal included, and he now has a chance to prove he deserves to stay and compete against the greatest fighters in one of the top divisions in MMA in terms of depth.

Masvidal (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

“I don’t know how the other guys feel, but I know I have a lot to prove. I’ve got to prove that I deserve to be here and [I’m] worth keeping around,” the lightweight stated. “I’m just so happy to be fighting again, and it has always been my dream to be in the UFC. I’m incredibly focused. I know what I have to go in there and do.”

Masvidal will have first opportunity to prove himself against Tim Means, who is 18-3-1 with a nine-fight winning streak. Like Masvidal, “The Dirty Bird” is a striker with knockout power, totaling 13 such finishes in his career.

“Gamebred” is aware of the streak Means is on, as well as his striking background, but he is confident he will end that streak on Saturday.

“When you are on such a long win streak, you get extremely confident. I actually think that will be an advantage for me,” Masvidal explained. “I’m not worried about his striking, and overall I think I’m more well-rounded on the ground than him.”

If Masvidal is able to get his hand raised at the HP Pavilion on Saturday, he will be put right in the mix at 155 pounds. The 28-year-old is by no means looking past his opponent, but he already has his goals laid out.

“I want to work my way up to the belt. I want to be the best in the division,” Masvidal declared. “And of course, I’d like a crack at Melendez again when I’m 100 percent.”

Jorge would like to thank ML Management and Tina Vidal-Smith, his coaches at American Top Team and Paulino Hernandez, as well as his sponsors Affliction, Lexani, RBP, and MMA Owl.

Photo: Jorge Masvidal (Phil Lambert/The MMA Corner)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.