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More Than Meets the Eye
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Has the era of the 'one dimensional fighter' come to an end because of an unwillingness to adapt?

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I'm going away soon so i did it early, probably rushed it a bit but i'll still beat Josh and X :side: :p

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Has the era of the 'one dimensional fighter' come to an end because of an unwillingness to adapt?

No, I don’t believe that one-dimensional fighters have come to an end because of an unwillingness to adapt but rather because of the eagerness of younger fighters to adapt and integrate various backgrounds of martial arts into their repertoire. Therefore they’re already having the edge over the older, less diverse fighters who are unable to match it skill wise with the learning of the new fighters due to a combination of age (resulting in diminished learning ability, reflexes, flexibility) and less experience in their new field of martial arts.

Back in the early days of the UFC it was basically a competition to find out which fighting style would come out on top. Invariably the Gracies with their brand of jiu-jitsu would come out on top. As MMA (i.e the UFC and various other at this stage) grew as a sport then so did the professionalism, with the gradual introduction of various rules, weight classes and 5 minute rounds. This created and rebranded the UFC as less of an exhibition of “human cockfighting” and more as a sport. This led to less reliance on the one discipline and a broader knowledge of at least the basics of multiple martial arts.

The rise of the well rounded fighter has coincided with the decrease in one dimensional fighters. This relationship is in part due to the newer fighters bursting onto the scene competent in at least some basic grappling, striking and wrestling techniques and the older fighters realising that they need to become more rounded in order to stay relevant in their division. That’s not to say that all of the one dimensional fighters have left the sport as a place has been found for the ‘freakshow’ fighters such as Hong Man Choi, Bob Sapp, Butterbean who are typically only ‘skilled’ in their size and power. The heavyweight division is another place where a fighter might not have a variable skill set but through their power and ability to take a punch have remained competing like Tank Abbott, Wesley Correira, Kimbo Slice among others who have a striking technique that more likely resembles something seen every Saturday night down in the rough part of town than the graceful movements associated with the sweet science. These fighters won’t be able to compete with the top of their division but they will still compete nonetheless and thus haven’t been eliminated from the world of MMA despite the relative lack of grappling talent.

So fighters who lack the skill on the ground are still competing in various organisations around the world and the yet the reverse of this isn’t always as evident as there are numerous successful Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialists with a questionable standing game yet are able to be successful. Fighters like Jake Shields, Ricardo Arona, Demian Maia have a questionable style striking mostly from poor technique yet they are among the more successful fighters in their division. This is led on by what was seen in the early days of the UFC where an excellent ground game could outclass the other fighters. There are many quality BJJ based fighters who are considered amongst the top of their divisions and their relative lack of striking skill as exposed due to their brilliance when the fight is on the ground.

However, the majority of these fighters obtain the skills that enable them to at the very least compete in the areas that they aren’t as efficient in. The drive to compete with everyone in the division spurns the aspiration to pick up the skills required to get them to the top of the pile so boxing/kickboxing/muay thai/wrestling/BJJ/karate coaches are used to give a base of knowledge to build on and further obtain the skills necessary. The want and desire to be the best that burns (or should burn) in every fighter drives them to become a well rounded fighter and thus I believe that it is in fact the opposite and it isn’t the unwillingness to adapt but rather the eagerness to become well rounded fighters that has caused the relative elimination of the completely one dimensional fighter.
 
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