Common Misconceptions About Each UFC Champion
Common Misconceptions About Each UFC Champion
The UFC currently has 10 champions including interim Bantamweight champion Renan Barao. These champions are both well loved by fans and heavily criticized by their detractors. It is beyond me how anyone can insult fighters that are at the pinnacle of the sport and have dedicated their lives to entertaining us.
These champions are the world’s premier fighters, and in no way are any of these warriors ‘boring’. I understand the term ‘boring’ is subjective, but the champions have found a way to dominate a sport in which one small mistake can render you unconscious. That is incredibly impressive to me. MMA is the ultimate ‘what have you done for me recently’ sport, where fans are quick to discredit any fighter after a loss.
Even Anderson Silva, the undisputed greatest fighter of all time, has been targeted by ‘fans’ of the sport, with people questioning how good this man ever was. This goes to show that no fighter can avoid the harsh criticisms that are unfairly thrust upon the athletes.
The disparaging comments are even aimed at fighters who have looked invincible, with Jon Jones coming under fire, being labelled ‘too big’ to fight at light heavyweight. Really? Jon Jones is too big to weigh 205 pounds? Yes, that is an incredibly shortsighted statement.
Obviously fans can critique fighters, but it should be with evidence. I’ve heard fans say that Georges St-Pierre is a boring fighter while they go crazy for Chael Sonnen fights and defend the firing of Jon Fitch. MMA fans love to have something to complain about.
This article lists a common misconception of each UFC fighter that fans have created, usually with a scarce amount of evidence.
Marcus Pordoy is an MMA writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MMAnalysisRoom, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.
Ronda Rousey is the Royce Gracie of WMMA
People are saying that Ronda is so successful because of the lack of development in female fighting, hence the comparison to Royce Gracie, who dominated at the UFC baby stages.
Royce Gracie, at the time of his reign, was mostly fighting people who were not in the top echelon of any discipline. Many of his opponents had no knowledge of the ground game whatsoever, and if we're honest, guys like Art Jimmerson weren't the best strikers either.
Today's female fighters have a vast knowledge of every aspect of the game, and that is the very essence of the evolution of MMA. With every new generation of fighters comes new well-rounded abilities, and Ronda has been dominating black belts on the ground, not boxers with one glove.
While I certainly mean no insult to Royce as he certainly was a pioneer of the sport, Ronda has earned her spot atop of the pound-for-pound female rankings against top competition.
Demetrious Johnson is a boring fighter and fans can’t get excited about flyweight fights
I'm starting to feel that there are a lot of MMA fans who get confused with the terms technical and boring.
Demetrious is lightning quick to watch, and has the heart of a lion rather than a mouse. At 125 pounds, he looks to be too well-rounded for anyone to deal with, soundly out-kickboxing Joseph Benavidez and out-lasting John Dodson in a great fight.
To me, Demetrious is a fantastically well-rounded fighter to watch, and reminds me of a miniature Cain Velasquez with his precise kickboxing and his constant wrestling pressure. In fact, his fight with Dodson seemed to be a similar match to a Cain-JDS fight.
I thoroughly enjoyed his fight against Moraga, and it proved that Johnson is always looking for a finish in his fights.
Renan Barao is the 135-pound version of Jose Aldo
They do come from the same camp, but they are very different fighters. Renan's output is far bigger than Jose's, and he constantly pressures his opponents with shots. Jose picks his shots more, blending amazing boxing with powerful muay thai, and throwing shots that have more purpose than Renan's.
Renan also prefers to use his grappling if he can, and throws wild hooks in a phone box type of fight at times. Jose is more calculated, always re-measuring his new distance and the timing of his opponent.
Renan is still an incredible talent, and if he were to beat Cruz, I'd put him higher than Benson and Cain on the pound-for-pound list, but he is a fighter in his own right, and shouldn't just be known as the training partner of Jose Aldo.
Jose Aldo has terrible cardio issues
Fightmetric stats show that Jose usually holds up pretty well in fights concerning his round to round output. He usually peaks around the second and third rounds if the fight hasn't been finished, with the fourth round not being far off and the fifth round looking similar to the first.
This misconception seemingly arises from the Hominick fight where it was reported Aldo was sick, and the Florian fight. Did Jose really look any more tired than Kenny in that fight? Every fighter slows down, even champions, and a guy with as much power as Jose is always going to put the effort in the earlier rounds to finish a fight.
Jose also held up well against Frankie Edgar, a fighter well known for his non-stop attack and movement. Jose matched him movement for movement, and outdid Frankie in the striking department while fending off all but two takedowns.
In the few times that Aldo has gone to decision, he's clearly won the fight. Edgar fans dispute the decision from the Aldo fight, yet they seem to dispute any decision Frankie is involved in. His cardio at featherweight is good enough to win any fight, and at lightweight, I only see his cardio getting better.
Benson Henderson is a boring points fighter
I've been hearing this for a while in various forums, and I have no idea why anyone would think Benson is a boring fighter. His tae-kwon-do and willingness to go to the ground with anyone always makes for an entertaining fight. It's my personal belief that people tend to dislike Benson for two reasons: 1. He's a religious 'preacher' type of fighter, 2. He beat the more popular Frankie Edgar.
In Benson's last 10 fights, he has obtained one submission of the night and three fight of the night honors, as well as racking up two fight of the year honors in his whole career. These are not the accolades of a boring fighter, and Benson does not have the mindset of a boring fighter. He's fully aware he has a great chin, and it shows when he doesn't mind getting into wild flurries with top fighters.
The only time I have been annoyed by Benson was his last fight, where his focus seemed to be elsewhere on the night, yet I still think he won three rounds of that fight.
P.S. He should get a haircut though
Georges St Pierre is the best striker in the division and one of the best boxers in MMA
Absolutely zero hate for Georges on my part, but he is not one of the best boxers in the whole of MMA. GSP's jab is pretty incredible; it keeps guys away from him and can cause some visual damage. This is all Georges seems to offer in his boxing game. A jab is meant to set up your more powerful shots -- just look at Muhammad Ali's right hand after a jab.
Georges' attempt at a semi-overhand, semi-straight right hand is nowhere near good enough to grant him the title of the best striker in the division. In his Jake Shields fight, I thought he was more likely to knock out a light on the ceiling than his opponent. To quote Dana White, 'He was throwing this weird overhand right, like a looping overhand right'. If you're hesitant to attempt uppercuts and hooks on a fighter like Shields, then you can't be considered the best striker of the division.
His kicks have not done damage for a very long time, and are more a weapon to keep fighters away from him and to mix things up. Nick Diaz told us Georges punches like a girl, but I do believe he just has something holding him back from throwing a huge hook/uppercut combination. It's most probably a mental aspect that has scarred him from taking risks, but I believe there is no way Georges is a better striker than Thiago Alves and Carlos Condit.
Georges is the best wrestler in the game, and there is absolutely no shame in that, especially with an astonishing 75 percent takedown rate. This makes him a truly special fighter, and people should just embrace that, instead of getting defensive whenever someone points out flaws in his stand-up game.
Chris Weidman did not beat Anderson Silva; Silva beat himself
Right after Weidman’s impressive win over Silva, fans claimed that Silva lost the fight because of his dancing and his arrogance. Well, this ‘arrogance’ got Silva to the top of the sport, with him dancing around many opponents with his hands at his side.
Weidman did a fantastic job not being roped in to Silva’s mind games, and constantly re-measured his distance in order to not overextend his strikes.
This was the key to his success, and the power in his hands impressed me, as everyone else has failed to put the mighty Spider away.
Weidman is an incredible talent who will enjoy a title reign, whether it be in the future or right now.
Jon Jones is only successful because of his reach
Looking back at Jon Jones' debut in the UFC, it's almost impossible to believe he has only had four to five years to develop into the fighting machine he is now.
Jon's reach is obviously a part of his style; he stays on the outside picking guys apart when he needs to, and can use his length to defend takedowns and strikes.
That being said, Jon's success is due to his incredible work ethic and his mental strength in the cage. He has always said that he wanted the cage to be a second home to him akin to Anderson Silva, and it's his composure and confidence that are carrying him.
Submitting black belts like Machida and Belfort while pounding great boxers like Rashad and Shogun is not just down to his reach -- it's down to his capacity for evolution in the cage.
People that spot the misconception are quick to point out Stefan Struve, who should be a champion if fights solely relied on reach. While I do agree, it's not quite the same as Struve does not have the wrestling pedigree to throw someone on their head when they get too close to him.
And that brings us to a full circle. Jones has incredible wrestling, which compliments his unorthodox striking so well that he's looking almost impossible to defeat.
Cain Velasquez has a glass chin
All too often, I have heard 'Cain has a glass jaw', and after watching Cheick Kongo send him to the floor and JDS almost through the canvas, it is sometimes hard to argue.
However, this is the heavyweight division, and with those small gloves come some of the most powerful punches you will ever see in sports. Some Heavyweights have good chins (JDS, Hunt, Nelson), and other fighters get seemingly wobbled by absolutely nothing (Mir, Schaub). Cain falls somewhere in between these two groups.
Part of Cain's problem is that he is always coming forward, making the impact of a punch greater when it connects. He substitutes this with very nice head movement, and every time he throws shots, he keeps a hand up and tries to cover his chin with his shoulder.
The two punches Cheick hit Cain with in the first round of their fight were possibly the two cleanest punches that he has ever landed on someone's chin, including Pat Barry. It's no wonder Cain fell. The second time Cheick dropped him, he hit Cain with a right hook to the temple. It wasn't a hard punch, but it disoriented him.
Obviously JDS' punch hit Cain behind the ear, but that punch would have wobbled a baby rhino, and I think anyone would have fallen to that in the heavyweight division with the exception of Hunt and Nelson.