An age old axiom is that “All roads lead to Rome”. However, the roads are all different and a traveller might elect to take one road over another and simply, because they prefer one road’s topography, view or the time required to traverse it, over that of any another road.
As a metaphor the adage can be extended and in this case, it can be extended to MMA.
In doing so, Rome becomes victory and the path to it, a fighter’s performance in the Octagon. However and as we know, there are different performances and some are considered to be more preferable to others. More to the point, these performances are witnessed by adoring and paying crowds (both live and by broadcast) and the crowds have varying opinions as to what qualifies as a great performance and subsequently a great fight.
So, what does make a great fight?
Anderson Silva fans would tell you that his fight with Chris Weidman was a not a great fight, where Weidman fans would completely disagree. GSP fans would tell you that his bouts with Fitch, Penn, Condit and Diaz (for example) were all great fights, where many fans and not just those of the fighter’s named, would tell you that all of his fights are boring.
Many fans, including myself, would tell you that Ryan Jimmo’s KO of Anthony Perosh in 7 seconds (UFC 149) was a great fight (thrill). However, many fans don’t like flash KO’s and wouldn’t want a steady diet of it.
Some fans like nothing but stand-up, where others love to see a good ground war and Jiu Jitsu match, while (still) others love a good mix of both.
For me, I think a great fight can be any one of a number of things and it doesn’t always need 2 great performances to achieve it. Sometimes, it’s amazing to watch how one fighter can completely own another fighter and render the other fighter’s performance a moot point; Anderson Silva and Jon Jones being the best examples of this type of dominance.
Then there’s the back-and-forth brawl, those Edgar / Maynard, Edgar / Henderson, Sanchez / Guida, Silva / Sonnen I fights, that give fans so much to chew on and so much value for their dollar; lengthy, gutty, gritty performances from both combatants that make other fights pale, by comparison.
I’d have to say that for my money, those are the types of fights I love the most and that (for me) hold the greatest number of “great fight” qualities. Of them, they combined KO’s, submissions, split-decisions, amazing come-backs, drama, great performances from both fighters and significant numbers of rounds fought.
If every fight could be as those, then most fans (if not all) would be happy. That said though, there’s nothing like seeing “your guy” go out and put a pounding on the “other guy”.
What are the qualities of a great fight, to you?