On Saturday night, UFC 128 happened at the Prudential Center (nicknamed The Rock) in Newark, New Jersey. Lots of things happened. And if you were watching, as I was, you might have thought you learned something. But what do I think I learned? Easy. I’ll tell you three things, after the jump.
1: Mirko Cro Cop is about done.
And oh how I wish it weren’t so. Because Mirko Cro Cop (real name Mirko Filipovic) was, at the peak of his powers, a devastating force of nature. He didn’t just beat people. He Destroyed them. Wanderlei Silva, Josh Barnett, Bob Sapp, and many more.
But now that striking proficiency is gone. All that’s left is a older, slower guy who still goes on the perception that he’s the same force of nature that he was once upon a time. And it’s sad.
2: Freestyle Wrestling is still the best base for success in MMA.
No matter who it is, there are almost no top guys in MMA who haven’t mastered at least some of its basic principles. the take downs and slams, the ability to keep your own back off of the mat, the knowledge of positioning. Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling helps you with this. And UFC 128 was just another example of it. Jon Jones (junior-college All-American) dominated Shogun Rua (more on that in a minute), Urijah Faber (collegiate star at UC-Davis) dominated Eddie Wineland, and Nate Marquardt did the same to late replacement Dan Miller. It’s a brilliant style to employ, and that’s why you see so many of your top stars employing it.
3: Jon Jones should disprove the idea that MMA fans don’t like African-American stars.
It’s always been referenced. People have talked about it, either obliquely or just straight out in front. MMA popularity, either in full or in part is due to the fact that there aren’t a lot of African-American stars. That is now no longer the case. Because, alongside Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva, the biggest star in MMA right now is a 23-year-old black man from Rochester, NY. He trained in MMA for only 3 years.
And he won the UFC’s Light Heavyweight Title by demolishing a widely respected figure in Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, a man who has done more than his fair share of the exact same type of thing to other fighters that he had done to him. (Check out his fight in PRIDE against Rampage Jackson if you don’t believe me.) But the point is this: Jon Jones has arrived. And Phil Davis is coming, as is Mo Lawal, and a whole bunch of other prospects.
The one thing about MMA is that in order to be successful at it ( Jon Jones aside) you have to be elite at one specific discipline. And that takes time.
But enough about what I learned. What did you learn?
Ask your questions in the comments and I will answer them.