Winning Strategy: Jorge Masvidal will Help You Unleash Your Killer Instinct


Whether Jorge Masvidal hits — or gets hit — by a who’s who of UFC greats, he always gets up talking. But the South Beach native always leaves his audience speechless when he talks up one of his other passions — hitting the slopes.

“Being from Miami, nobody thinks I could ski,” Masvidal says of his snowbound offseason activity. “I’m actually pretty decent at it. I went with a group of friends to Utah about seven years ago. And I fell in love with it.”

Skiing is just one of the many layers attributed to “Gamebred,” the charismatic trash talker who’s worked his way from journeyman fighter to becoming one of the most recognizable faces of the UFC. Masvidal may be best known for his 2019 TKO over Nate Diaz to win the fictional “Baddest Mother F***er” crown at UFC 244, or his high-flying five-second knockout of Ben Askren in UFC 239 that same year.

He’s on a two-fight losing streak — both to current welterweight champion Kamaru Usman — but is hoping 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 engaging in any number of other interests you’d be surprised to associate with Masvidal. From skiing to chilling on South Beach, Masvidal has partnered with Recuerdo for his own mezcal line. “I only drink my mezcal — Recuerdo,” he says. “That’s something that I’m very proud of. I got into the mezcal game about three years ago. And man, it’s been awesome. I love it, man!”

He’s also an avid card collector, so much so, that after seeing his own image finally make to a Panini collection several years back, Masvidal opened up his own card store in the 305.

In other words, Masvidal is always working, as he has been leading up to his UFC bout against a former training partner turned bitter rival. Having rolled with him on the mats when training together at American Top Team before Covington left for MMA Masters.

“Things have definitely changed since the last time we got on the mats,” Masvidal says. “But he’s basically the same fighter in a lot of aspects. He’s not gonna throw punches heavy. His main focus is just to grab a leg and squeezing as hard as he can and wear the next guy out that those are the things that he likes to do. So I’m, I’m not too much worried about this guy, man.”

Being one victory away from a potential title bout or his success outside the Octagon isn’t by accident, if you’ve studied Masvidal’s work routine. As he explains his Winning Strategy, Masvidal says continuous research, rounds, repetition, and relaxation is the formula that can work for anyone — from athlete to entrepreneur.


MMA Fighter Jorge Masvidal training and hitting the heavy bag
Mike Van Dalen

Practice (And Keep Practicing) Till Perfect

You never stop learning in this game. The day you do is the day you’ll stop progressing. The moment that I’m like, “I know everything in the sport,” I f***ed up. That’s it.

For me, it’s getting in a lot of reps, because I’m a slow learner. One thing I discovered when I was young was that if it takes someone 20 reps to get a move right, it’s going to take me 100 reps to get the same move down. But once I finally get it, I got it for life. It’s in my system forever.

I knew I had to have a good work ethic because I would see all the guys in the gym hitting a brand-new move, and I’m like, “I can’t figure out how this move works.” So I would constantly put in a lot of mat time. And it was just working on those moves. Work, work, work! Repeat, rinse, wash, and do it again and again. And eventually it would click.

Striking comes a lot more natural to me than wrestling or jiujitsu —  man, I got a drill those. And because I have to keep drilling, 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 with a match coming, definitely messes with my timing. If I’m back home, I’m punching people in the face in the morning then running sprints at night. If I have to travel, it’s not going to be the same. But I will get to the gym, put in about two hours of work, then hit the sauna for like, 30 to 40 minutes. Once I get back to Miami, everything continues as normal.

I’ll usually make [travel days] my light days. I’ll go super hard, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, taper off for that one day, then make up for it the next three days.

On a light day, I’ll hit the bag for like 20 to 30 minutes to sharpen up a few techniques, nothing crazy. Then I’ll get with a partner and drill certain moves and techniques to work on my rhythm. Then I’ll grab a jump rope and go for like, 15 minutes. Then it’s stretching, some shadowboxing, then get in the sauna and sweat out the little I may have eaten.

Back in Miami it could be very different. A light day would be like working out for an hour on a few specific positions and detail and just go over and over and over. Light, but a lot of work on my mind and positioning, whether I’m really good or bad at the move, just keep going over it.

Jorge Masvidal sparring with his trainer and boxing coach
Mike Van Dalen

Learn How to Unleash Your Inner Animal

A lot of us are born with a killer instinct. You have to be like a shark, if you smell blood, you go for it. Me, if I hurt you, I’m going to take you out.

Developing a killer instinct is mental. You have to try and see yourself in those scenarios — it’s something  I like to do this a lot. If you have a chance to study your opponent, this is a way to help you turn the switch on.

For example: If you’re in jiujitsu, let’s say he’s in your guard, and for whatever reason this guy likes to extend his arm. You begin creating the mindset that if he extends that arm, you’re going to snap it — you will not give him a chance. That’s the start of developing that killer instinct.

But, if you went for it at 100 mph and somehow he got out of it, then you immediately go into the next move — in your mind you’re not going to stop till you knock him out. And you force that on your mind. It all starts there first. You have to tell yourself constantly how to do it and live it in the gym. Then from the gym you take it for the world to see.

Expand Your Passions as Well

I used to collect Marvel Comics cards as a kid. I didn’t have the biggest collection, it was just a little collection. I always liked the Marvel cards, but like, seven, eight years ago, Panini ( started coming out with fighter cards, and I was like, Wow! I told myself I’m gonna make it to that level and get on one of those cards one day, and I did.

Sure enough, one thing led to another, and I became really interested into getting the trading card business, so I opened a card store [Cards and Cuts] in Miami. I don’t know enough about the other sports — I know just enough — but saw that the world was so massively deep into the trading card world, so I got into all aspects of it.

In my collection, I don’t have one prize possession, but I’d have to say Thanos from Marvel’s Avengers. I’ve had it for a while, it’s a kid type of thing. I love my own card and maybe some other fighters, but having Thanos has been pretty damn cool.

I don’t toss any out, but if I had to toss one, I’d toss the that punk I’m gonna fight on March 5 — his card ain’t worth sh*t. Actually, there’s a lot of sh*t talkers in my weight class, but I give their cards away. I won’t rip them up — ‘cause that would make them more rare. I just give them away just to mess up their economy.

Know Your Limits, Make Adjustments, and Enjoy

Growing up, like, when I was about 7 to 13 years old, I used to do a lot of inline skating. I would do half-pipes and jump on rails. I did like, five staircases, flipping my skates, stuff like that.

I would get plenty of shin bangers and falling on the rails and getting my nuts split in half, things like that. That’s the reason 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 get hit by a human all day than fall on the concrete.

But when I picked up skiing, I fell in love with it.

I went twice in December I went one week to Colorado with I usually do like two to four trips every year. And I always do a trip with my kids around Christmas.

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