Fighters share a substantial part of their lives with their opponents, lasting anywhere from two to eight months, from when the contract is signed to the last word uttered by an announcer.
Throughout this rigorous time line, there are significant moments of pressure and intensity that test a fighter’s facilities—namely getting in fighting condition, mentally preparing, overcoming adversity in the ring, and properly translating a win or a loss after it’s all said and done.
Amongst all the intriguing elements laced within the fight game, one little moment stands out—lasting only a few seconds in the ring, packed with enough excitement to instantly hook the attention of all fight fans alike. Whether viewers are on the edge of their couches or their arena seating, this is the moment that orchestrates a frenzy in the fighters’ eyes and chills down the backs of fans.
It’s the purest moment shared between warriors, before any strikes or take downs are executed—the essential calm before the storm—a moment when hearts pump so fast, time slows down. Every great combatant throughout time and across genre lines has experienced this titillating moment of acceptance, an agreement between will and nerves.
The gladiators stood silently before the iron gates, sweat dripping down into the dust beneath their sandals, before facing the impending wrath awaiting them in the Coliseum. During the Revolutionary War, rows of soldiers would stand stoically—at a distance—in front of their enemies, but close enough to see the determination of survival in their enemies’ eyes.
In the wild western days, gun-slinging outlaws would caress their holsters, ready to settle a score in a dirt road littered with tumbleweeds. Fast-forward to the modern age and we’ve got combat athletes squaring up before every play in football.
Go beyond the pigskin and we’ve got modern day gladiators living that special moment every time they step into a cage or ring. That moment, which has been around since the beginning of competition, is translated into the “stare down” when mixed martial arts is the topic of discussion.
Throughout its relatively short history, MMA has produced some of the most mesmerizing stare downs fight fans have ever witnessed. So condensing every memorable in-ring stare down into ten slides would be nearly impossible, but compiling ten excellent examples, is more than within reach.
Not all of our slides are intense; some are humorous or just flat-out strange. And some fighters are reoccurring due to their natural ability to continuously strike fear into their fellow antagonist’s confidence—proving to be masterful artists of psychological warfare.
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Sun Tzu’s Art of War