It seems like yesterday. It was unheard of. Any man with two fists, two legs, a bit of talent, and a huge heart could step into a ring with their respective fight style and compete for the title of the Ultimate Fighter. Sumo wrestlers against boxers. Taekwondo against Greco-Roman wrestling.
This was fresh out of a Bruce Lee kung-fu flick. Would Jean Claude Van Damn be there? Of course not. These were practitioners of the martial arts and beyond. Who but the well versed in martial arts had ever heard of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu? Who had ever heard of Pancrase?
The world was in for a treat.
Who knew what to expect? Who could have known? When a tribe of focused Brazilians made their march towards the Octagon, hands on each others' shoulders, following a small man towards his battle, waving their flag, the masses had no idea what would come to pass.
How could anyone have known was about to happen? Gracie Jui-Jitsu was about to pull the world into its guard and issue its submission and create the fans of a lifetime. Many tapped immediately. This writer included.
Fast-forward 18 years almost to the date. Everyone knows what is at stake now. Everyone knows the angles. Everyone scrambles for their inside edge on what will pass in fights between the likes of Lidell, Ortiz, countless Silvas, and St. Pierre. The list goes on.
In some respects, the UFC is quite the same. Men come from all over the world to showcase their respective disciplines against the best the world has to offer. From Canada to Brazil, Japan to Armenia, fighters with the heart and capabilities flock for a chance to prove themselves on this battleground.
Some rise; many fall.
The UFC has brought its fans the best the world has to offer and pitted them against each other for the viewing pleasure of the masses. Overall, the road has been long, but once again, wasn't it just yesterday that Royce Gracie stormed the Octagon with his mysterious style of fighting? No, it was 88 events ago.
Assuming the UFC puts on one event monthly over the next year, we should see the century mark of UFC events come to pass by next November. Perhaps this is premature to speculate on, as a lot can happen over the course of a year, but the question is burning in the distance like beacon of light.
What will Dana White, the saviour of this great sport, put together with his genius? The 100th UFC event is only going to happen once.
By this time, the UFC should be at its pinnacle, capable of the greatest event the sport has ever seen. What is in store for UFC fans everywhere on this historical day? An open-weight tournament? unification of organizations to see who really is the best?
Surely not just another title fight. Perhaps all titles on the line in one night of Championship fighting. The possibilities are endless. Obviously, these scenarios are far fetched, but there must be something worthy of the history of this sport.
This writer would like to hear your ideas and suggestions.
One thing is for sure. If the past is any indication of the future, it should be a night to remember.