Whether you've been following the UFC since it was a bare knuckled brawling spectacle or you just watched your first pay-per-view, one thing is for sure: Now is the time to love Mixed Martial Arts.
The following are my Top Five Reasons for why "right now" is the best time to love this sport.
So...read on....tell me what you think, and take a little time to say "Why do I love this sport?" And if you are new to MMA? Well...it's time to start reading up, clearing your Saturday nights, and getting ready to watch some of the most elite athletes in the world stand toe-to-toe and decide who is the better man...Enjoy.
I know that Randy Couture has lost his last two fights....but I also know that I've never watched a 46 year old man stand with the best of the sport and survive vicious striking and world renowned submission attempts.
Randy Couture truly is "Captain America", The "Natural", the most highly regarded man in the sport right now. This man survived two submission attempts from Nogueira that looked like they were sunk in so deep that giving up would be inevitable, and was knocked flat to the ground and still was able to regain his composure and continue fighting. And even though his suffered defeat to Lesnar in 2 rounds....watching Lesnar struggle to use his size to his advantage shows just how good a wrestler Randy really is.
In a sporting world where the antics of a small few seem to over shadow the hard work and dedication put in by many, Randy Couture shines as a true champion. He's a man who has stood with the best of multiple generations, and still brings time, commitment, and much needed "class" to the sport.
My hat's off to you Randy, it's been over 10 years since I first saw you fight, I've had the opportunity to see you fight in person, and to this day I find myself cheering in your corner every time you step into the Octagon.
Lesnar....Carwin....I'll even throw Duffee's name out there.
As an MMA society, there is something we love about watching two "Big Guys" go at it, and with a strong core of heavyweights currently awaiting the survivors of the next UFC reality program, the division looks to get bigger, faster, and stronger with each new day.
There's already been a mountain of articles written about the physique of the "new" UFC heavyweight, so I'll just say this:
"I cannnot wait to see what is in store for this divsion....truly... 'Let's Get it On!'"
Remember that "gray period" in MMA where the only styles that seemed to matter were whether someone was a "striker", "counter-striker", or "wrestler"?
Well...we've said goodbye to those days.
I must truly credit Lyoto Machida, the current LHW Champion of the UFC for bringing "Fighting Style" back into the equation. His elusive Karate style fighting had many critics calling his fights "boring" and "disappointing", then suddenly he ended the win streaks of Thiago Silva and Rashad Evans by KO, and picked up a championship belt too.
The evolution of the sport has once again given rise to specialists in the many areas of fighting. Guys like Demian Maia and Dustin Hazelett have shown just how effective a stellar submission game can be, while heavyweight combatants Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin are showing that size matters, speed kills, and they have both.
It seems that when MMA started everyone had a "style". Then, as the sport became more accepted, more and more fighters simply wanted to be called "Mixed Martial Artists." Now, as the sport evolves even further, we are seeing the return of the specialists; Jiu Jitsu, Karate, and even the good ol' Ground and Pound are turning into legitimate titles of those who proudly practice each style, and watching the rest of the MMA world try to prepare for the best in each divsion is well worth the price of admission.
With events happening in Portland, Boston, Minneapolis and Memphis there's a good chance that this sport is coming to a city near you! Bringing the main event of this sport to cities all over the United States is helping solidify MMA as a real sport, and bringing in thousands of new fans each year.
(I will always recommend flying to Vegas for the weekend to see an event....there really is nothing like it....)
Don't worry MMA fans...I know even saying this could lead to more negative comments and discussions about "jokes", "hacks", and "wannabe's" than a "Pros vs Joes" marathon at your favorite chicken wings restaurant...but it needs to be said.
With all the hype of the next TUF Season 10, it's hard not to find yourself clearing your Wednesday night schedule. And while Kimbo brings little more than name recognition to the show, the fact that he's actively been training with MMA Legend Bas Rutten and his "clearly" shown underdog status on the show means one thing...people will watch.
Do I think Kimbo can win the Ultimate Fighter? Nope. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't want see him standing center Octagon...trophy in one hand and Dana White shaking his other...
Too bad for Kimbo 15 other giants are standing in his way....may the best man win.