What was it that Yogi Berra said? “90% percent is mental, the other half is physical.” The quote doesn’t make sense in the slightest, but I think the truth remains, all the same.
Last Saturday, when Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez fought, we expected it to be the rematch of the century. What we got was a less than an exciting one-sided fight, which led to a landslide victory in Velasquez’s favor. It was as though Dos Santos’s mind shut down early on in the match, or it was never there to begin with.
The correct phrasing of the quote usually goes, as I recall from high school wrestling is: “90% is mental and 10% is physical.” The mind dictates what your body does, not the other way around. If you lost in your mind for whatever reason, then you lost the fight already. Dos Santos was there physically when he fought Velasquez, but in his mind he was gone. Dos Santos is an incredibly capable fighter, but at UFC 155, he looked like a victim of a broken fight mentality.
Dos Santos gave an interview to MMA Junkie.com Radio, in regards to what went wrong in his fight.
“I was ready for this fight, but something was wrong with my mentality.”
“I didn’t fight. I don’t know why, If you watch the fight – I’ve watched the fight three times already – I didn’t fight. I just defended myself. I don’t know why. I don’t know what happened to me. For sure, it was a learning experience. … I can’t wait to fight him [again]. I know I have a lot more to show for the fans, and I think the fans know that.”
The fans know Dos Santos can do better; we’ve seen it before. For whatever reason, at UFC 155, his mind got the best of him. I’ve heard time and time again from other fighters: everyone has a game plan until they get hit in the face. I firmly believe this. When you’re in the middle of a fight, all that mental preparation goes out the window, when you get hit in the face. Sometimes from there, you enter survival mode and there’s no room to think.
It can happen even to the most seasoned and experienced fighters like Dos Santos. I do think Dos Santos is far more capable then he showed at UFC 155. I suppose we’ll just have to wait for a rematch to see if Dos Santos truly is capable.