Monday, July 13, 2009
I'm going to keep today as short and simple as possible because I spent way too much time on this computer yesterday, debating points of contention, wondering how people can just accuse people of things without basis and adding countless comments to various articles across the Internet.
Above is Matt Hughes, arguably the most dominant welterweight the UFC has ever had (thought GSP is coming up quick) and my choice to help present the last post I will write involving Brock Lesnar until he next defends his title.
One of the biggest arguments about Brock's in-ring performance last night and thus far in his career is that he "just lays on his opponent," whether because it makes breathing difficult or because he's just too big.
The too big argument holds no weight with me. Everyone who steps in the ring at heavyweight has to make 265 pounds and those stepping in with Lesnar know in advance that he'll be somewhere in the neighborhood of 280 come fight night.
Stop moaning about a Super Heavyweight division.
And where you say he "lays on his opponents," I say he plays to his greatest strength, just like Matt Hughes used to do.
Before getting into the Hughes side of things, let me also make it clear that if Lesnar did simply lay on his opponents, the ref would stand the two fighters up. But they didn't because the whole time he's "laying on his opponent," he's also driving that cinder block attached to his right arm into Frank Mir's mush.
Now to the Matt Hughes linkage.
Hughes had the best wrestling in the UFC for a long, long time. You could be sure that when the cage door closed, Matt Hughes was going to shoot for a takedown at least 20 times a night and if he got that single or double leg, you were going to the ground.
From there, he used his superior wrestling ability to control his opponents, transitioning to submissions or executing strikes until one way or another, the fight ended. Occassionally, he picked the other guy up and powerbombed him into unconsciousness.
Stripped to the bare bones, Hughes strategy was bring guy to ground, finish him how I know best.
What is Brock Lesnar's strategy again? Oh right - bring guy to ground, finish him how I know best.
It's the same strategy used by every single fighter that participates in Mixed Martial Arts. You play to your strengths and use the best tools available in your toolbox to beat the other man. So why is it that Brock Lesnar doing the same things as Matt Hughes and damn near everyone else in the sport requires new divisions or is less of a victory?
It's all about acceptability.
People don't accept Brock Lesnar.
Whether it's because of his time in the WWE, his bullish demeanor and ridiculous antics or because they feel he lacks "artistry" or an understanding of "Bushido" that they wish still emminated throughout MMA. Maybe a combination of all three?
Whatever the case, it's okay to not like the guy, but here's the thing:
There was no artistry to the way Dan Severn tossed guys around back in the day and there isn't that much artistry in Chuck Liddell loading up that lethal right hand to flatten someone. Besides, no one is proclaiming Brock Lesnar as the greatest incarnation of what it means to be a Mixed Martial Artist. He's a fighter, and GSP fills that other role.
Do I hope Brock Lesnar takes some cues from the thousands of respectful fighters throughout MMA and never has another one of those post-fight displays? Absolutely.
Does he have to? Nope. Being a dick isn't against the rules.
You can choose not to like him. I choose not to like Frank Mir.
But I'll give the guy credit for being a two-time former champion and a pretty solid fighter, at no point trying to diminish his accomplishments.
Why can't you?