In the world of mixed martial arts, there is one question that remains a constant; which discipline is the most important? Where should I invest the majority of my time to become the best martial artist possible? During the conception of the UFC, mixed martial arts was a foreign concept to most people. It wasn’t widely broadcasted on Fox or ESPN, and very few people viewed it as a legitimate sport. It wasn’t about who was the best fighter, or who was the most accomplished athlete, who trained the hardest. More often than not, it came down to style versus style matchups. Will the boxer beat the wrestler? Will the judoka beat the kickboxer?
While boxing and wrestling were household names in the USA, a more foreign art began to establish itself as an unstoppable force in the UFC. A man by the name of Royce Gracie was taking the mixed martial arts world by storm. To the laymen, it almost looked like magic. This was when Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu began to be recognized as one of the most effective martial arts in the world. Not only was Royce continually winning his matches, he was submitting opponents who were significantly larger than him with seemingly minimal effort. His streak of dominance came to an end when he faced the then-current welterweight champion Matt Hughes. Hughes, a skilled wrestler with knowledge of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and a vicious ground and pound technique knocked out Royce in the first round. Hughes’ reign as champion highlighted the importance of wrestling in mixed martial arts competition.
Since Hughes, there have been many wrestlers who made their way to the top. Todays’ lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is feared for his relentless top pressure; dragging his opponents to the ground, trapping their limbs and beating them mercilessly. Olympians such as Daniel Cormier, Yoel Romero, and Henry Cejudo have made it to the most elite level in their respective weight classes through their wrestling prowess. However, grappling isn’t necessarily the solution to the puzzle of mixed martial arts.
Every fight starts on the feet, and some of the best martial artists of all time have been strikers. After making a name for himself in the Pride Fighting Championship, the famed Anderson Silva went on a sixteen fight win streak in the UFC. Anderson had a style that nobody had seen before, moving his head like a cobra, finishing his opponents with style and ease. Many strikers have followed in his footsteps, including the boxing-based “Notorious” Conor McGregor. The Irish superstar combined his unusual ability to control the striking distance with phenomenal take down defense. This was displayed beautifully in his fight against the accomplished wrestler Chad Mendes. Conor stuffed a couple of takedowns, but found himself in danger once Mendes finally took him down. Conor weathered a barrage of elbows and used his distance control to knock Mendes out once they stood up. Standout strikers such as Stephen Thompson, Israel Adesanya and Max Holloway have also displayed the skills to finish skilled grapplers with their precision and accuracy.
Although the fighters that I’ve mentioned specialize in a particular discipline, they still need to be well versed in all facets of combat to find success. That’s why at Precision Boxing and MMA we’ve strived to create an environment where the aspiring martial artist can learn multiple disciplines under one roof. Here you can find a top notch boxing program, train Muay Thai under the guidance of an undefeated champion, and learn to grapple with the experience of four Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belts on staff. Our Brazilian Jiu Jitsu program is wrestling based, and we always start on the feet and drill takedowns. If you want to make your MMA dreams a reality, come check out Precision Boxing and MMA; the Hudson Valleys Premier mixed martial arts academy. Give us a call at (845)392-8495.