T Nation

Athleticism Being Combined with Skills


A few years ago there was a thread on here (I think it was before the combat forum actually existed) saying that MMA didn't have world class athletes - or more accurately some argued that the level of athletes was lower than more popular sports such as basketball or football. At the time I disagreed. My opinion was purely based on the fact that I believed that skill and technique trumped athleticism in a sport with so many areas in which to win or lose, and I really didn't think that there would be guys showing up with explosiveness, endurance, AND the ability to strike and grapple.

I gotta say that Jon Jones is proving me entirely wrong. I realize it's still early in his career and lots could happen in the interim, but based on the way he's improved so quickly in the sport, combined with the god given physical abilities he possesses, his example hints at the potential MMA athlete we are seeing and may see more of in the future. It is absolutely scary to think of what he could become with more work in the gym and what the future holds for MMA in general.


Jesus christ people,
A. Greco Roman champ
B. Grappled before doing mma
C. yes athleticism plays a role, but to act like he's the first great athlete in the sport is stuupid
D. There are still examples of more technical fighters winning

I thought the "Machida era" was bad

And I'm not making any predictions this early, but word has it Rashad would give Bones some lickins in training.


hmmmm, i guess i was just stating some obvious stuff since only sardines replied,....is it worth unblocking him to see what he said? or is it his usual, contentious banter where he highlights how much he knows about the sport and how little the rest of us do? you graduate yet buddy, or ya still using mommy and daddys internet?


My post was intended to be like that, and I'm happy you realized how dumb your thread is. Athleticism combined with skills??? christ man. You're some type of genius. A guy who is more athletic and more skilled being good at mma, what are the fucking chances?


I don't find Jones to be particularly athletic. He's clearly gassed a number of times.

He has an amazing reach and has done an incredible job of quickly picking up striking.

I would not call him a world-class athlete at this point though, just in terms of raw athleticism.


Really? I can remember him gassing against Bonnar. That's over 2 years ago. Since then, he's been ragdolling every 205er put in front of him for as long as they can take it, which is rarely 2 full rounds. To me, he's so obviously the best pure athlete in the division and the fact that he's picked up striking so quickly and knows how to utilize his reach shouldn't detract from that fact.
He has a brother in the NFL and one at Syracuse, both DEs, so there's clearly some power and athleticism to spare in that family.

I'm not quite sure what slim's point is, but I think I agree. Basically, MMA hasn't been attracting the greatest athletes so far, and if it starts doing that, the future is looking really fucking bright. Yeah?


I guess, but he's still a product of wrestling. Jones said it himself, he can't play football so he wrestled. I think people are jumping the gun just a bit on the whole "next generation" stuff. Obviously as a sport grows the talent pool expands.


Fair enough, but there are a ton of college wrestlers in MMA that don't display anywhere near his level of dominance. He's also been walking through enough wrestlers to indicate that there's something special about him.


well, atheletes go where the money is....

there aren't a lot of boxers crossing over, sicne the money's not right. MMA's full of wrestlers, since there's no real professional arena for them to go into. as kids grow up and see the money that's increasing in MMA, they'll start training it at a younger age, and i think we will see some real freaks in there.

i do belive guys like GSP, Anderson Silva and Brock Lesnar are genetic anomlies anyway, and clearly can dominate at whatever event they chose to. i do think Jon Jones has a lot of traits of an ahtlete....strength, spedd and power. i don't neccessarily equate endruance with pure athletes, since i think that's something that can be trained, to a moderate degree. but either you have power, or you don't....


See, I see GSP as the poster child for what a great work ethic can get you. I don't see him as a genetic freak, or even that naturally skilled, but as a guy with a killer work ethic who puts in all the time and effort to make himself a world-class athlete, striker and grappler.


Endurance for mma sure, but there is a reason the Kenyans rule long distance events. I really see Bones as a LHW version of a Penn or GSP, nothing new or special, we just haven't seen a phenom this good at LHW before.


This conversation is totally losing me...

...what do GSP and Penn have in common? They're polar opposites. Penn is extremely naturally talented and athletically gifted, but (relatively) lazy and non-technical.

GSP is all hard work and very technical.


They all fought for titles at young ages. I believe they were all 23 too.


And on what planet is BJ penn not technical???


I think you are spot on with your observations. And Jones is a perfect example the new athleticism which mma can look forward to. No one owns Shogun in the style and fashion that Jones did without being a solid class above him. As the purses grow (and I hope they grow but who knows) I think we'll see more fighters who are closer to Jones innate ability.


ahh MMA-fans, or more likely UFC-fans.

"Machida/Rampage/Shogun/Bones is the ultimate fighter, he's gonna stay on top for a looooooong time"

Bones is not the "new breed". He'll be beaten. The LHW-division is stacked with at least 6 possible champs. The LHW-belt reminds me of my ex, at first it looks like she'll be loyal to 1 man for a long time but she turns out to be a whore that gets passed around a lot.


You gotta check that shit beforehand son.


"New athleticism" WTF??

Can't wait for the rapid backpedaling on this forum when Jones gets beat down after maybe one title defense.

That fucking belt changes hands so much, I don't see how any of you can honestly say Jones is some new phenomenon and is going to stay champion.


Haha, I'm adding this thread to my bookmarks now. This will be revisited.


Jones is nothing special. He's a talented fighter and good athlete, but he is not magical. Anybody who is competing at the highest possible level in any sport, be it olympic weight lifting, UFC world championships, or bodybuilders are special.

They aren't, however, simply genetically gifted. Writing off success at that level as a "gift from god" short-changes all of the work they put in to make it to the top of the world. Guys like GSP are the champions because they train harder than anybody in this forum every day of their lives. Alexander Karelin had this to say when people accused him of cheating or just being born better: "[They don't understand because] I train every day of my life as they have never trained a day in theirs".

As has already been brought up, there are too many hungry guys in LHW each as talented as Jones looking to take him out.