You may have noticed a large trend happening with the fighters that isn’t conducive to the tag of mixed martial arts. It seems that they end up getting one fighter who is versed in one style versus a fighter versed in one style as well. This is not what mixed martial arts is supposed to be about. Though UFC was created with the intent of bringing in all forms of martial arts pitting them against each other and seeing who comes out on top, it has since evolved from that but the fighters really haven’t. Yes the fighters are trying to adapt in each fight and yes they are trained in a certain style, but being a boxer and taking some wrestling classes does not qualify you for the title of mixed martial artist.
This sport has transformed into the necessity of fighters being immersed in multiple styles of martial arts for them to be highly successful. This has yet to really be seen out of any fighter, but the first that does implement all styles effectively will be considered legendary in the octagon. Now you might be coming up with ideas on “well this fighter is trained in this and this”, or “this fighter has changed his fighting style to incorporate these techniques”. If you actually talk to these people and ask them what and where their fighting style comes from you will hear some interesting stories on how they learned their “expertise”. For example, in the rumor mill of Gary Goodridge, his early days of the UFC were spent “representing” Kuk Sool Won after attending two classes and getting a fourth degree black belt just so the style could be introduced in the octagon. Then you also have a slew of fighters that come in and find their way through the ranks coming up with their own “styles”. Going from Silva’s “Thugjitsu” to the “pitfighting” style that rose and died with Tank Abbott.
A multi-faceted fighter with deep knowledge of standing and ground game would have no problem succeeding tremendously in the UFC. So far no one with this ability has appeared in the octagon and probably won’t for some time. It appears the UFC is comfortable pitting one fighting style against another (even though sometimes its a little unfair, like boxing vs. jiu jitsu), but hopefully it will soon evolve as the fighters mature to become true mixed martial artists. Picture a fighter versed in Judo and Wushu against an opponent with knowledge of Jeet Kune Do and Jiu Jitsu. Damn that would be one hell of a fight!