Wrestlers in MMA: Why Their Dominance Is Temporary

Andrew Barr@@andrewbarr8Correspondent IJuly 23, 2011

People are making a lot of noise these days about how wrestlers are ruining mixed martial arts.

Many of the casual fans don't like watching wrestlers compete because they find the fights boring. Unfortunately for these people, wrestlers are a dominant force in this sport, and so watching their fights is a difficult thing to avoid.

Then there are those on the other side of the fence.

Some of the fans do have an appreciation for the subtle art of grappling and those people generally have no qualms with watching a good wrestler do his thing for 15 minutes.

Neither of the aforementioned persuasions is right or wrong, necessarily, as entertainment is a subjective concept.

However, I do come bearing good news for all of you anti-wrestler spectators out there.

While high level grapplers are currently dominating mixed martial arts, this is a temporary flare up of success and will ultimately subside.

What people need to understand about MMA is that the sport is still in its early stages; compared to most other sports, MMA is an infant.

When you see a football player in the NFL or a hockey player in the NHL, that individual has likely been playing their respective sport for practically their entire life.

Can the same be said for mixed martial artists? No.

The fighters competing in MMA today have not been training the sport of MMA their entire lives. They train in one particular combat discipline, or maybe a couple, and then later in life adapt what they have learned in that discipline to mixed martial arts, while trying to quickly learn the martial arts they are unfamiliar with.

That's why wrestlers have been so dominant.

Guys like Matt Hughes, Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck have been wrestling since childhood. No matter how hard a kick boxer trains his wrestling when he's in his twenties and ready to start MMA, he will likely never be able to stop the takedowns of a guy who's been wrestling since he was a kid.

Luckily, as the sport continues to grow, youths will begin training with ultimate goal of being a mixed martial artist, rather than training a specific discipline and later adapting to the sport.

This new breed will have been training wrestling, boxing, jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai, etc. since childhood, and that should level the playing field for fighters everywhere.

No more will we see match ups between a kick boxer who knows a bit of wrestling and a wrestler who knows a bit of boxing, but rather real mixed martial artists going at it.

People like to think that we've come a long way from when Royce Gracie was dominating the sport using his Brazilian jiu-jitsu, a style that some of his opponents probably hadn't even heard of.

The truth is, when you look at the bigger picture, we haven't come very far at all. Rather than the sport being made up of fighters representing one style, as it was in Royce's time, we now have fighters who are extremely versed in one or two styles and novices in others.

If you think the sport has changed since the early days, just wait and see how much it changes over the next 15 years. It's going to be a hell of a ride.