One thing I have noticed that sets apart the "average" or "decent" fighters from the "elite" of the UFC is striking. Almost everyone who is of the UFC elite has excellent striking; GSP, Silva, BJ Penn, Evans, Rampage etc etc.
What is it that continues this trend of slews of fighters entering the octagon that have good or great wrestling/BJJ but have crappy striking?
well, i think most people start off wiht one style, and eventually broaden their game (which is kinda obvious). for some, they're wrestlers and develop striking (Evans), or they're stikres, who develop wrestling (GSP).
i think right now the UFC is just dominated by wrestlers, so that's why some of the striking sucks. kind of why i enjoy wathcing the WEC a little more, i guess...
That brings up an interesting point really. I know alot of us as enthusiasts of the sport try to convince the non followers of how great the ground game is once you understand it, but I've always felt like a hypocrite, because I know deep down, Watching great strikers go at it is sooo much more entertaining.
Don't get me wrong, when you get two skilled ground fighters, some amazing, mindblowing shit can happen and you can have back and forth fights for position, but on a general basis, two guys get to the ground, they tend to lie there and it can get boring as fuck to watch. Anyone else feel this way?
Interesting that you say that, because I don't think that's true.
It's obvious that elite MMA fighter should have good striking, one, because it's one of the big components of the game, two, because the fight starts on the feet, and if you are a good striker, you can do your thing right away.
But when talking about the wrestling-dominated UFC, I don't think the champions are excellent in the striking department. Silva is a beast standing, that's a no brainer. But about the other guys, I have some comments.
GSP is Kyokushin black belt, but his striking, while good is not as big factor in his ability to fuck you up as his takedown ability and ground-and-pound. He's very dominant in his division and can put the fight where he wants it, so he doesn't take much damage standing, but this doesn't mean that he's top WW striker. He doesn't finish his fights on the feet, rewatch his TKO wins and you'll agree. He has very good reach, though.
BJ is great boxer, very efficient and has pretty amazing power and chin, but he doesn't need to be excellent striker to be the best in his division. He won't win a K-1 tournament against some other MMA LWs, but that's pretty irrelevant When you don't bother about takedown attempts (first, because you have the best TD defense in the division, and second, because on the ground it's your game, again), you can put a lot more power in your punches. Kicking is for guys who can't do it BJ Penn or Nick Diaz style - box you or choke you - you choose.
Evans is the worst striker from the bunch, I think. He's very athletic, and has the wrestling, the ground-and-pound and the power, but in his division, there are many equally good or better strikers (on the top of my head - Machida, Rampage, Shogun, Franklin, Lil Nog, Cane, etc.). Still, I must admit that Machida can make everyone look like a whitebelt opponent in a Shotokan tournament.
Just to clarify, I'm in no way trying to badmouth these fighters, I just don't think their striking is more outstanding than their wrestling, for example.
Anyone can get knocked out. Most MMAers come from wrestling or BBJ so those skills cancel each other out. What's left? Striking. Also, striking puts butts in seats.
I think also there's a huge difference between MMA striking and Boxing striking. So it can easily appear that MMAers can't strike for shit, but these guys have to be on the lookout for the take down or the kick. You can't just use "pretty" technical boxing and throw up a bunch of pretty 5 and 6 punch combs. That's why the "one, two" or "one, two, three" is so common. Even so the "one, two, three" usually ends with a kick.
...well unless you come with the heat on the first punch and land it square on a glass jaw....hello Mercer v Sylvia