BlogKick: What Does it mean to be an Elite Striker?Posted on January 24, 2011, 06:37 PM by Ryan Ventura
You hear it a lot. We’ve heard it even more than usual last Saturday for the Fight for The Troops 2 card, Joe Rogan talking about how so and so is an “elite striker”. What exactly is an elite striker and who should be considered an elite striker? I’ve thought about this for a long time prior to last Saturday’s UFC event. You hear this phrase thrown around so loosely in the world of Mixed Martial Arts. Now, I’m not comparing the sport of Mixed Martial Arts to other Combat Sports like Boxing or Muay Thai / Kickboxing. There really is no comparison between all those sports mentioned; it really is apples and oranges. However, I feel there are many great qualities from Stand Up fighting that can be applied to MMA. As a hardcore MMA fan / practitioner, but also of Boxing and Muay Thai / Kickboxing, I have my own personal criteria / checklist of what an elite stand up fighter looks like or should be. You’re probably asking yourself, “what are basic stand up habits”? In my opinion small basics like this are the most important things to remember.
RCV’s “Elite Striker” Checklist:
- Now for anyone on here that has trained in stand up arts like Boxing or Kickboxing / Muay Thai, you know all about the importance of keeping your hands up and having your chin low. Having at least one hand up when you throw punches to protect your face or having your chin low is the difference between getting knocked out and survival.
- Another small importance is head movement. Your head becoming a moving target, making it difficult for someone to hit you is obviously vital.
- I know in MMA, fighters have to worry about the takedown but I personally I believe even with takedowns you can still check kicks. There are lots of MMA fighters out there that don’t check their kicks and end up paying for it. You can’t move much without your legs.
- Now what’s a good defense without a good offense right? The smallest issue I have with some MMA fighters is that they don’t know how to punch properly. We’ve seen many examples of fighters that just don’t know how to put weight into their fists properly. There are so many “arm punchers” in the game today. If these guys knew how to properly put their hips into their punches we’d probably see more and more guys getting knocked out.
- MMA fighters are not the only ones guilty of having terrible footwork. There are many examples of “flat footedness” in all combat sports and as a fighter in any style; footwork should be a huge priority.
There are actually plenty of great Mixed Martial Artists like Anderson Silva, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Paul Daley, KJ Noons, and many more that use the mentioned attributes. However, nothing says “I’m an elite striker” like competing at the highest level. There have been plenty of examples of accomplished fighters coming from the K-1 or professional boxing ring to try their hand at MMA. Some have been very successful like Mirko Cro Cop, others like Dutch Kickboxing pioneer Ramon Dekkers, or Pro Boxing legend James Toney didn’t exactly fare very well. Although there are very few examples of successful MMA fighters that made the jump to pure stand up. Guys like Semmy Schilt and 2010 K-1 WGP Alistair Overeem are some of the best known.
In short, I invite all you fans to ask yourself what it means to be an elite striker. Educate yourself so you can understand the standup game even better than you already know. Switch it up, watch some pro boxing, watch some K-1, It’s Showtime, Muay Thai fights, Sanshou, and Shoot Boxing. When you become educated in that, you’ll better appreciate stand up fighting, and from that you’ll have an even greater appreciation for the sport of MMA.
If you enjoyed this piece, I invite you all to also check out my site Rabbit-Punch.net. Also if you want to know more about elite striking, I suggestion you look up or get even more familiar with the fighters below.
Favorite MMA “Elite Strikers”: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Anderson Silva, Mirko Cro Cop, Georges St. Pierre, Cung Le, Paul Daley, KJ Noons, Michihiro Omigawa, Mark Hominick, Pat Barry, Maximo Blanco, and Joachim Hansen.
Favorite Kickboxers / Muay Thai Fighters: Andy Hug, Masato, Tyrone Spong, Michael McDonald, Alistair Overeem, Gokhan Saki, Badr Hari, Peter Aerts, Andy Souwer, Buakaw Por. Pramuk, John Wayne Parr, Ole Laursen, Ray Sefo, and Ernesto Hoost.
Favorite Boxers: Manny Pacquiao, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Marvin Hagler, Nonito Donaire, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, and Juan Manuel Marquez.