Since his teens, Jorge Masvidal had dreamed of getting paid to throw fists, feet, knees, and elbows. "I wanted to scrap with people for money from the time I was a kid, like 13 or 14," he admits. And that's exactly when little Jorge began training for a life in the fight game. He boxed and wrestled, and then he got deep into mixed martial arts. But because there was no real amateur MMA scene in Miami at the time, the native 305er took to the streets at 18 years old, fighting backyard brawls for free and even becoming hood famous by beating Kimbo Slice's prized pupil, Ray, in two back-alley, bare-knuckle bouts. The only problems: He wasn't making any cash, and he had to constantly watch out for the fighters and bettors burned by his wins who wanted to stab, shoot, or bash him with a brick. So Jorge went pro in 2003, tore through the Absolute Fighting Championships till 2006, and then signed a $20,000-per-match deal with the now-defunct Bodog Fight league through 2007. Soon he had made his bones by knocking out Pride/UFC vet Yves Edwards with a brutal head kick. He had ascended to the ranks of Strikeforce. And he had even TKOed a guy at the Playboy Mansion. But since the dawn of 2013, Masvidal has been an inked fighter with Dana White's Ultimate Fighting Championship, the biggest cage in the MMA biz, adding three wins and only one loss to his 34-fight record. Today he is Miami's longest-tenured prizefighter in the UFC. As Jorge says: "I always knew I wanted to get paid."

Long before the season began, pretty much everyone knew the squad in Miami was the best in the nation. They weren't just defending champs; they'd also annihilated everyone in their path on their way to the title. The only real question was how they'd deal with the pressure of overwhelming expectations for a two-peat. Nope, we're not talking about the Miami Heat. Even LeBron didn't leave a path of destruction and domination quite like the Cyclones from Booker T. Washington High School did in 2012. The team from Overtown went a perfect 14-0 and won its dynamic head coach, Tim "Ice" Harris, his second state title. With the team's on-field leader — Harris' own son, quarterback Tim Harris Jr. — coming back for 2013, everyone expected excellence. And the Iceman more than delivered. His squad again went a perfect 14-0, topping 40 points in all but four games en route to yet another state title. This time around, they added a cherry on top: an undisputed national title thanks to a top ranking in all seven major high school football polls. After eight seasons and a ridiculous 96-10 record at Booker T., Harris is moving on to Coral Gables this year as an assistant to Al Golden at the University of Miami. Feel free to get those expectations up, Canes fans — Harris clearly doesn't mind that weight on his shoulders.

After three full periods of hockey, an overtime, and the first two skaters of a shootout, nothing separated the Florida Panthers and the Buffalo Sabres in a January game in New York. The score was still knotted at 1, and now both teams had come up empty on their first two penalty attempts in the shootout. The Sabres' third try also rattled off the keeper. The Panthers were up. Score and they'd win. Miss again and they'd end with a disheartening tie. There was only one choice to step up to the puck. Brad Boyes skated to center ice, his teammates leaning over the boards and watching intently. He skated toward the goal, weaved to the side, and snapped the puck. It pinged loudly off the post, hit the goalie in the back, and — for what seemed like seconds — hung in the air. Then it slid quietly over the line. Panthers win! "You gotta be kidding me!" the Panthers announcer shouted. That's exactly what a lot of fans would have said if you'd told them preseason that Boyes would become the beating heart of the Panthers offense this year. Boyes has always been one of the most effective penalty shooters in NHL history, but after two monster years in St. Louis from 2007 to 2009, injuries and inconsistency stalled the winger's career. Until his first year in South Florida, that is. On a rebuilding squad, he stayed healthy and led the team with 20 goals. Only one of those rattled off a post and a goalie to win the game, but — as Boyes showed time and again on the ice this year — it takes talent to catch breaks like that.

Lincoln Road Mall
Photo courtesy of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

Yes, Miami is full of places to shop, eat, and look fabulous. But most of those places aren't all in a row on one street. If your dream day in Miami is to walk for hours buying awesome clothes, eating great food, and taking in the local sun-drenched scenery, take a stroll down Lincoln Road. It features all types of specialty shops and restaurants, including SushiSamba, Dylan's Candy Bar, Five Napkin Burger, Armani, Williams-Sonoma, and Y-3 Yohji Yamamoto. When you get tired of spending your money, you can take in some culture at the art-deco-designed Colony Theater and the New World Symphony. Or just sit on a bench and watch the people go by. You'll see beautiful models, awesome street style, and, sometimes, street performers. It's a cliché to say that a place "has something for everyone," but if any locale lives up to that saying, it's Lincoln Road.

Miami Avenue is like the city's aorta. It's the coursing path tens of thousands of drivers use to travel from north to south each day. But since March, that aorta has been blocked at perhaps its most critical point, the bridge over the Miami River. Seems the metal grating and other parts were decaying and must now be replaced. What does this $5.6 million project mean for you? Well, if you are trying to get from Brickell downtown or vice versa, you may be outta luck... that is, at least until March 2015, when it is forecast to be finished. The northbound lanes are closed now. When that is done, they'll start work on the southbound part of the project.

The phrase "urban bike ride" may stir up gritty images of fixies swerving through traffic, scoping grimy graffitied warehouses, and hopping curbs to find their way through the concrete jungle. But this is Miami, the nation's only urban area nestled next to two national parks, and its urban cyclists deserve a gloriously green trek to match. Enter Old Cutler Road, the handsome, mansion- and royal-palm-lined street that cuts through moneyed estates and passes some of Miami's finest parks along the way. Start your ride at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and head south beneath the lushly shaded foliage, hook east through some of the best old architecture in Miami-Dade County, and roll south for just under six miles until you hit the Deering Estate at Cutler, the glorious Old Florida home of Charles Deering, on the waterfront. An urban ride that goes from tropical garden to waterfront estate? Must be in Miami-Dade, son.

Where else can you see pimped-out cruisers with banana seats and raised handlebars, giant speakers blaring music while hundreds of bicyclists block traffic, and LeBron James leading the pack? Nowhere! So try Critical Mass, my friends! Bicyclists usually meet at Government Center at 6:30 p.m. for a 12- to 18-mile ride. As Miami Critical Mass states, it's not an "us vs. them" event; it's a ride that encourages cycling and reminds drivers to share the road. This energetic bunch bikes the last Friday of every month, and all levels of rider are welcome. If you didn't prep your body for the summer beaches, it's time to bike your butt into shape.

Feel the trees gently sway as you jog through nature trails at Black Point. Let the ocean breeze caress your face as you reach the end of the trail. Revel in the beauty of ospreys, egrets, and other birds flitting around the park. Walk by the marina and spot manatees swimming alongside the boats. Treat yourself to the Black Point Ocean Grill. Buy a beer, sit on the grassy hill, and watch drunken boaters attempt to remove their craft from the water. Then get up and start running again.

Crandon Park
Photo by Chris Garcia / Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

Both nature- and city-lovers agree that Crandon Park is a great place to paddle. Not only do you get the best views of the city but you can also lose yourself in Key Biscayne's ecosystems. Whether you choose to venture under the Rickenbacker Causeway or take a tour through the mangroves, you won't be disappointed. Experienced riders can brave the choppier seas of the south and catch a glimpse of the Cape Florida Lighthouse. Prices aren't bad: $20 for a one-hour rental and $45 for three hours. If you want to get your ashtanga on, find your inner Zen with stand-up paddle yoga. Private kite-boarding lessons are also available. This is truly an adventurer's playground.

This ride never gets old. Start on the perfect pavement pushing south on Washington Avenue from Lincoln Road. Then cut over to Ocean Drive (and its equally brilliant asphalt). Then just keep going south. If you're the daring type looking for an adrenaline rush, roll down the median as luxury vehicles drive mere inches from you. If you'd rather stay away from traffic, there's a nice, smooth pathway. On a sunny day with an easy breeze, there's hardly anything more satisfying than the sight of the Port of Miami to your right and the Atlantic Ocean on your left at the South Pointe boardwalk. Leave your board on the shore, have a quick dip in the waves, pull your towel out of your JanSport, and enjoy the sights for a little while. Then, after catching your breath, get back on the road.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®