There are plenty of fighters in MMA who will swear to their willingness to fight "anyone, anywhere, anytime," but there are few (if any) who have lived up to that motto like Jorge Masvidal.
There aren't many guys in the game, after all, who can not only claim to have gotten their start in the underground street fight scene, but have actual, documented proof to back them up. But it was there, in Miami's surfeit of warehouse parking lots and abandoned backyards, that a teenage Masvidal first rose to prominence after defeating the protege of Kimbo Slice known simply as "Ray" in two of the viral street fighting star's now infamous bootleg videos.
According to the man himself, it's the gritty, undistinguished moments like these that separate "Gamebred" from the legions of imitators who have flocked to MMA in the 13 years since his professional career first began.
"These guys are just pimps and hos that are all about the fame," Masvidal said in a recent interview with FloCombat. "I'm not about that."
Not unlike Paul Daley, Masvidal likes to classify himself in an elite, long forgotten (or simply never heard of, in the case of some of the sport's younger fans) class of fighters that came into the sport not through a reality show, but through the fires of unsanctioned smoker matches against opponents twice their size. "Real" fighters. Guys who competed not for paychecks, but because fighting was in their DNA, for lack of a more eloquent description. Guys like the original pioneers of the UFC, who Masvidal would have been fighting alongside had he been able to at the time.
At #UFCDenver this weekend, Masvidal will once again look to bring the underground to the mainstream when he takes on Donald Cerrone, a guy who shares more in common with the American Top Team standout than most when it comes to fighting anytime, anywhere.
But make no mistake about it, you won't be seeing Masvidal hugging it out with "Cowboy" in the Octagon like many have before him.
"They will tell you, if I'm not the meanest, I'm one of the meanest S.O.Bs to ever walk through those doors," says Masvidal about the camp he calls home. "I've always been able to rely on that [attitude] of [even if] my legs hurt, I'm tired or this guy is way better than me technically, well you know what? I think this guys is a b*tch inside and I'm going to bring it out of him."
Toughness and resolve – that's just the way it is when you're as hardened a fighter as Masvidal. At just 32 years old, he's packed in more fight experience than the majority of fighters who competed on those early UFC cards, having battled on the very first Bellator card, fought for the Strikeforce title, and enjoyed a four-year, 12-fight career in the UFC thus far.
And on Saturday night, he'll get the chance to show the deluded masses what a "real" fighter looks like.