Over the years we’ve seen some great fights in the UFC and as put on by fighters who not only had a lot of heart, but also the cardio conditioning to go the required 3 or 5 hard rounds.
This past weekend for example, fans got to watch an incredible performance by Irish Phenom fighter Conor McGregor and a demonstration of not only his skill, but also his incredible cardio capabilities.
On the other end of the spectrum fans watched Alistair Overeem blow, what looked like a sure victory, because he seemed to gas or slow and after only having expended a few minutes of energy and even in that, he was giving the beating, not taking it, which is (obviously) the considerably easier thing to do in a fight. Nonetheless, “The Demotion Man” saw himself demolished by a Travis Browne front-snap-kick and his own depleted gas tank.
However, Overeem is not the only fighter in the UFC with cardio issues or who has blown fights, because of them. Roy Nelson, for example, made a dreadful showing of himself this past June in Winnipeg (UFC 161) in his loss to Stipe Miocic. Roy was out of the fight before he was ever in it and for the most part, because of his cardio conditioning.
BJ Penn was / is another fighter that has been notorious for not being in “true” fighting shape.
Any fan who has ever seen Penn fight more than a few times knows that BJ, when in shape, is one of the baddest, nastiest and worst matches that a fighter could get in the UFC. In a word he can be a nightmare. To the point, Penn was so dangerous that it was not too long ago that he was listed amongst the top-ten best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
However and as fans also know, there is another BJ Penn and that Penn has issues with cardio. He can be the same guy and at the same weight, 155, but based on his conditioning he can be two totally different fighters; the one is incredible and the other not capable of holding his belt or crushing his opponents, as the other can.
So, if it’s understood that cardio is as important as it is in terms of getting optimal performances out of fighters, then shouldn’t the UFC begin to regularly test its fighter’s cardio endurance and ensure that they can go 3 or 5 hard rounds?
I have no idea as to what the test should be and I’ll offer no suggestions, but I do believe the issue should be addressed. Surely, one doesn’t have to be a doctor, coach or the president of the UFC to look at a guy like Roy Nelson and know that he could be in much better shape, and surely you don’t need to be an M.B.A. to know that fans don’t want to fork out hard-earned money to watch a fighters who have “wind” issues, within the 1rst round. Not only is it boring, but it’s also embarrassing, to be honest and something should be done about it.
It would be my thought and hope, that Dana White might consider the issue of general conditioning within the UFC, set a standard and then require all fighters to demonstrate either (weeks out) prior to a fight or randomly throughout the year, that they can meet the test.
Fights should be lost, because the other fighter won and not because a fighter beat himself and having done so, by not being in the best possible cardio shape that they could be in. We have more than enough examples of great fighters like GSP, Cain Velasquez, Jon Jones and Frankie Edgar who can go all day long in a bout and I think it’s time that all fighters were required to do the same, and the only way to accomplish it is by testing for it. The same way they do for drugs.