The first Ultimate Fighting Championship event occurred on November 12, 1993 at the McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, Colorado.
This eight man tournament was held with limited rules and no weight classes.
Royce Gracie, world renowned for his jiu jitsu prowess, won the tournament by rear naked choke.
Nearly 150 UFC events have passed since, and the sport of mixed martial arts has evolved considerably.
Knowledge of wrestling, jiu jitsu, and striking are a requirement to succeed in an organization where fighters are becoming well-rounded martial artists. Looking at the progression of this sport, it is sometimes difficult to imagine how much further it can develop.
If we glimpse into the future of mixed martial arts, we may just see the following things.
Fighters that compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship are among the most well-conditioned athletes in modern sports.
As mixed martial artists evolves, so will the conditioning of all fighters, regardless of weight class. The fighters in the UFC’s lighter divisions have shown that they can do battle for five rounds without slowing their pace.
UFC fighters of the future, especially those holding a spot in the upper rungs of their respective division, will have a Frankie Edgar-esque fitness that will carry them through deep water.
In order to succeed as a fighter in the UFC, knowledge of multiple martial arts is necessary.
There are a handful of fighters currently on the organization’s roster who display a one dimensional fighting style. Most of those fighters will find difficulty staying relevant as the organization evolves, and will be defeated by those who have knowledge of multiple fighting styles.
The future UFC champions will find it difficult to maintain their win streak, due to an increase in the talent pool of their division.
This will lead to a hungry chase for a title that is never really secure in any one fighter’s hands. The Anderson Silva type fighter will still exist, but will find it difficult to retain the belt beyond a few successful title defenses.
With the talent pool of the UFC expanding, minor fighting promotions will grow, with the top fighters from these organizations vying for a spot in the UFC (much like today).
However, the competition will be much fiercer, even at the lower tier of the UFC where incoming prospects will be looking to extend their stay in the organization and knock down any potential up and coming fighter.
As the UFC’s fighters evolve, game planning will become a much more important factor in deciding the outcome of a fight.
With fighters who have knowledge of multiple forms of fighting, the edge will go to the fighter who is able to implement a strategy that will neutralize or defeat their opponent. The fighter with no game plan will almost always be defeated. The fighter that is able to use their strengths and bring out their opponents weakness will succeed and take home a win.
The future of the UFC is uncertain, but if it continues to succeed it will have a talented roster of well-conditioned fighters, as well as an emphasis on strategy and neutralizing opponents and fighters who have a deep knowledge of multiple fighting styles. We can expect more competitive match-ups.