When Mixed Martial Arts first bursted on the scene, fighters from around the world coming from different disciplines of combat, wanted to seen who’s art was superior. We all know back in those days it was literally style versus style. Almost every single hand to hand form of fighting was once tried in the Octagon. From the world of Savate to the world of Sumo. We’ve seen fighters who created their own style of Martial Arts and even people who claimed to be Ninjas. As the sport evolved, grew, and matured, we witnessed what works during competitions and what didn’t. Mixed Martial Arts in a way has become it’s own combat style. Taking certain elements of Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing, and Muay Thai. We’ve also seen styles like Judo, Sambo, and Karate used by a certain few. With this young sport growing at a rapid rate, it will become common place for young up and comers to strictly train MMA.
In my opinion the prototypical Modern Mixed Martial Artists, came from the world of Pancrase in Japan. Legends like Frank Shamrock, Ken Shamrock, and Bas Rutten made their name in the promotion. We should also not forget Brazilian legend of Vale Tudo, Marco Ruas who also shared the same philosophies. They were the original fighters, who were open to training in all aspects of the game. Even during the days of the early UFC, fighters were still stuck in that mind state that they could be experts in one style, and that would be good enough to defeat opponents. Not the Shamrocks, Ruas and Rutten, they demonstrated how important it was to not only be able to fight on the feet, but on the ground, and whatever situation may come.
Today’s MMA greats use the blueprint created by the legends of the past, but times ten. Today’s fighters are not only great Martial Artists, but amazing athletes as well. It is not only essential to be a technically dominating fighter, but also one of great physicality. People like Georges St.Pierre and Nick Diaz pride themselves in not only being in peak physical condition, but also strong in technique. Fighters like Fedor Emelienenko have also shown that even the most traditional methods of training can be effective in this day and age as well.
The most dominate Mixed Martial Artist is no longer just the Jiu-Jitsu black belt, an NCAA Division One Wrestler, or a K-1 World World Grand Prix competitor. It is now the fighter that could combine all those elements together, to create an MMA style of their own. I look forward to seeing what Mixed Martial Arts will look like in the future.