A recent study done by combat statistic experts and fight science wizards Fightnomics, reveals some very interesting numbers regarding the constantly evolving sport we’ve come to love and know as Mixed Martial Arts.
According to Fightnomics, striking output has more than doubled since the UFC’s debut in 93-94. The statistics for both strikes landed and strikes thrown – which includes all strikes in all positions with all limbs – have consistently climbed incrementally every single year for the past 19 years, but with one exception.
In 1993 when the UFC debuted there was an average of approximately 4.0 significant strikes attempted per minute and 2.0 significant strikes landed per minute – otherwise known as “SSPM” – but interestingly enough, there was a dramatic decline in both the year following. No explanation was given for this, but I’ve come up with my own hypothesis.
I believe that Royce Gracie winning UFC 1 with grappling, changed the entire landscape of fighting soo drastically, that we saw the beginning of a serious philosophy change in the minds of fighters everywhere. That moment in history directly caused an increase in the amount of grappling and grapplers in the following UFC 2 in 1994. Which is also when striking output was at its lowest.
In other words, I think Royce Gracie scared the crap out of everyone soo badly, that they were like “holy crap, the grappling stuff works really well” and changed their entire mindset towards fighting, giving grapplers everywhere a boost of confidence and strikers everywhere something very real to fear. Which would also make sense as to why out of 15 fights at UFC 2, 11 of them were concluded by submission.
And since that moment, the numbers have consistently continued to grow and increase, as you can see for yourself:
You might also be asking yourself, well why and how have the numbers increased soo steadily? And the answer is quite simple. MMA is a young sport that has not yet seen its peak. It is a hyper-competitive sport of immaculately conditioned athletes that is still continuing to grow and evolve.
The scary part, is that the numbers are as consistent as they are and have yet to show any signs of slowing. We’re seeing more fighters throw and land more strikes than ever. As competition and talent increases, so does work ethic, nutrition, training methods and the science of weight cutting. It’s as if everything is evolving simultaneously out of fierce competition causing some sort of crazy Darwinian-based system leading to the survival of the fittest, which in this case could be considered the Champions of each respective weight class.
The only number that has seemed to remain relatively unchanged is accuracy percentage, which has always seemed to hover around 42%. Fightnomics attributes the reason for this as being what I mentioned previously, fighters, trainers and training methods keep getting better. As the offensive striking skills and techniques become increasingly better, so do the defensive striking skills and techniques.
More fascinating than that? All of the statistics are pointing to the scary concluding fact that we have yet to see the very best this sport has to offer. It means that the most talented, fastest and well-conditioned strikers are still out there and have yet to grace us with their existence. WOW. Some mind-blowing stuff here.
But that’s enough from me. I feel like I’m falling into some sort of mind-bending paradox of some kind, so I’m going to give up before I lose my sanity comprehending all of this.
What do you think of all this? Do you find these stats as interesting as I do? Does the prospect of a super-conditioned mega-striker get you all warm and fuzzy inside like it does for me?
Let us know in the comments below!