Has the sport passed them by?

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POLL: Is the new generation too good for the old stars, or are the old stars to old for the young fighters?
its a product of age and wear/tear 29% (14)
The newer generation is just techincally better 6% (3)
A combination of both 65% (32)
bjj1605
3/8/10 12:43:23AM

I disagree that the current generation of fighters has passed by the old stars in terms of skill. It's commonplace for people to talk about the evolution of the sport (see Joe Rogan) and even infer that the old generation of stars couldn't hang with the new talent even in their prime..

I think that the decline of stars going on right now has almost everything to do with their age and/or length of their careers and nothing to do with a lack of technical ability. If Jens Pulver was twenty five years old and had the exact same skill set he does I bet he could be champion all over again. Don't forget that he beat BJ Penn back in the day (who's currently considered one of the unstoppable fighters).

It's sometimes all to easy to forget what we used to think of the people we now consider 'done' or 'past their prime.'

Cro Cop, Jens Pulver, Wanderlei Silva, Big Nog, Matt Hughes, Andrei Arlovski even (I'm sure I'm missing a bunch of names, I just listed the first that came to mind). All of these fighters are declining as a product of their age or because of the wear and tear that fighting has on your body.

But the best example is Chuck Liddell. I have a magazine with the cover article entitled "Can Anyone Stop the Freight Train" all about how the author doesn't think anyone will beat chuck and he'll retire on top. Same kind of thing people are saying about Anderson now a days. Chuck had all the same kind of hype that George St. Pierre, BJ Penn, Anderson Silva, and Fedor have right now. Couple bad fights and a few years later everyone treats the guy like a bum. Talks About how the sport has passed him by.

I for one soundly believe that Chuck Liddell in his prime could hang with Lyoto Machida or Anderson Silva today.

He always had great kickboxing (all though unorthodox) huge power, top rate take down defense, and an ability to avoid submissions and stand up. If he had those same skills today he would be able to hang with anyone in the 205lbs division. The reason he can't anymore is he's aging, his chin is gone from getting punched too much, his reflexes are slower, and he's lost his speed.
kopower
3/8/10 1:47:19AM
I think the biggest reason is the wear and tear. You see guys with iron chins, i.e. Chuck Liddell get hit and get dropped now. Nog is another example. Just a part of the sport and life.
cmill21
3/8/10 1:59:31AM
I agree, I don't buy they are technically better. Looking at Cain and the likes, they are still kind of one dimesional. They're are the exceptions like GSP, BJ, Fedor, etc that can do everything.
bjj1605
3/8/10 2:41:03AM

Posted by cmill21

I agree, I don't buy they are technically better. Looking at Cain and the likes, they are still kind of one dimesional. They're are the exceptions like GSP, BJ, Fedor, etc that can do everything.



Right but they're always going to be exceptions. Look to anthony johnson for a guy with essentially Chuck's style now-a-days. Uses wrestling in reverse, knock out power, good kick boxer.


And I'm not trying to completely discount the fact that the talent level in the sport is deepening, there are certainly more good fighters now a days than there were before. But thats really a separate issue. In that regard the sport is evolving, but I don't think Muay Thai, or Kickboxing, or Wrestling, or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu could really have changed that much over the course of a couple years.
ncordless
3/8/10 3:37:39AM
MMA fighters fade because of a combination of factors
A) Age and wear and tear on their bodies.

B) Loss of desire and/or focus

C) Not "evolving" - I think a better way to describe it is not adapting. This can be for several reasons and can involve different aspects of mma. Examples include:
1- Not using modern training and dietary methods. (fighting in wrong weight class, fighting part time, inadequate training camps)
2- Not adapting game to fit rules (cage v. ring, elbows, head kicks, different round lengths)
3- Not expanding their game (the point was made that the elements of MMA like BJJ, MT, wrestling, and boxing have not changed. That is true, but the art of combing them and using them in MMA is changing. Not only are more fighters learning basics like takedown defense, boxing combinations, and guard-work, but there are also advances in what people are using in the sport. The jab is fairly common now but it was not long ago that hardly anyone threw it in MMA.)
4- Antiquated ideas about fighting (lack of modern strategic concepts, destructive training habits, style-supremacy)
seanfu
3/8/10 5:20:20AM
GSP from 3 years ago would kill prime Hughes easily

Lyoto would kill Prime Chuck easily (I think)

Anderson is just anderson so that's not fair, but Marquart from today would kill champ Franklin.

Lesnar, Dos Santos, Mir, maybe Cain would all obviously destry big tim during timmys roid rage days. And they would take out pretty much everyone from the old guard of HW except prime Fedor and I think most could beat prime Nog.

Obviously any of the top 10 LW's today could destry any of th old top 10's unless their name is Penn.

You can argue all you want but the fact is 90 percent of the new prime stars would kill the old p4p champs.

Put old Chuck against Lyoto and see what happens. Same with a lot of the top 8 in that division. Prides ring, rules, and gloves are another story, but being contested in the cage see who would win.

25 year old undeveloped Josh Koscheck would've likely beaten prime champ Hughes. so yeah.

The generation of 2014 is just absolutely scary to think about. Because that should be the time when the guard is in the middle of changing. Who will be the first ones to dominate anderson, brock, gsp, or bj in their divisions? Scary.
bjj1605
3/8/10 11:47:50AM

Posted by seanfu

GSP from 3 years ago would kill prime Hughes easily

Lyoto would kill Prime Chuck easily (I think)

Anderson is just anderson so that's not fair, but Marquart from today would kill champ Franklin.

Lesnar, Dos Santos, Mir, maybe Cain would all obviously destry big tim during timmys roid rage days. And they would take out pretty much everyone from the old guard of HW except prime Fedor and I think most could beat prime Nog.

Obviously any of the top 10 LW's today could destry any of th old top 10's unless their name is Penn.

You can argue all you want but the fact is 90 percent of the new prime stars would kill the old p4p champs.

Put old Chuck against Lyoto and see what happens. Same with a lot of the top 8 in that division. Prides ring, rules, and gloves are another story, but being contested in the cage see who would win.

25 year old undeveloped Josh Koscheck would've likely beaten prime champ Hughes. so yeah.

The generation of 2014 is just absolutely scary to think about. Because that should be the time when the guard is in the middle of changing. Who will be the first ones to dominate anderson, brock, gsp, or bj in their divisions? Scary.



Welll you may think its obvious but I completely disagree. Unfortunately we can't match fighters from the past with fighters from the future so we'll never know for sure.

GSP did NOT beat hughes the first time they fought. He lost by arm bar in the first round. And considering what a powerful and explosive wrestler Matt Hughes was I think he would run through your afro-boy.

I think prime Chuck would KTFO of lyoto Machida.

Franklin is one guy I might agree with you on. I don't think that he's lost anything, I just think the UFC MW division was weak when he was champ.

I think at HW most of the current guys would have as much trouble with Big Tim (when he was on roids) as everyone did back then. I think AA could beat any of the Top 10 in his Prime.

LW was a weak division in the past, but BJ Penn, Caol Uno, Yves Edwards, Josh Thomson, Jens Pulver, and Sean Sherk could all hang with any of the stars today in their Primes.

I'll say again. Kickboxing five or ten years ago isn't really any worse than kickboxing today. Guys who were good at it then (Cro Cop, Guy Mezger, Chuck Liddell) would be good at it today. Same goes for wrestling or jiu jitsu. The techniques don't change, at least not very much. And I think it is absurd to assume that fighters will keep getting better and better. When does that end?

Maybe its hard to understand if you're newer to the sport.
SmileR
3/8/10 12:01:34PM
I'd say its because of age as appose to better skill sets in the newer fighters. I'd also say some of the people you've named mightn't be the top guys any more but they are still dangerous can could push for a title at any moment given a few wins.

A really good example is Chuck, he is still a legit top 10 LHW but because he ruled the devision for so long and so dominantly his fall from number 1 to the middle/bottom of the top 10 seams like a huge slip as appose to a slip of just a few places.
He proved he can still hang with the top 5 guys with his fight with Rashad, he was on his way to a decision before he got caught with a shot that completely shut him down. I'v seen fights 5 years ago with Chuck when he ate shots just as powerful and in the same spot and turned round and KO'd the guy. His skills haven't diminished and he's as powerful as ever just his body can't take the punishment it used to.
I'd happily bet everything I owned on Chuck from 5 years ago not only beating Rashad but destroying him. He was well rounded back then but his body could still take the powerful shots thrown at him. So his skill and then compared to the younger fighters are still the same level in my opinion.
bjj1605
3/8/10 12:10:22PM
Just for fun I searched for a couple of old threads. The first one is about whether or not Chuck Will beat Rampage, the arguments show some of what I'm talking about. The second includes topics such as: can chuck beat Nog? Can chuck beat Big Tim? Can Chuck move up and win the HW title?

People forget so quickly its astonishing. All the hype Anderson or GSP have today, Chuck had then. Think about that. Can you see yourself three years from now saying that Anderson was never that good and the new generation of fighters is just technically better?

Chuck at HW Rampage
cmill21
3/8/10 1:45:06PM
For arguments sake, is Dos Santo's a better striker now then Cro Cop was in 2000-2006? Pretty much the same fighters, they don't want to go to the ground and they strike so I feel it's a solid comparison. I don't see anything that tells me Cain would beat Nog in his prime, he wouldn't be able to KO him and Nog would more then likely submit him. Chuck would not lose to Lyoto, I say that with the most supreme confidence.
bjj1605
3/8/10 3:50:20PM

Posted by cmill21

For arguments sake, is Dos Santo's a better striker now then Cro Cop was in 2000-2006? Pretty much the same fighters, they don't want to go to the ground and they strike so I feel it's a solid comparison. I don't see anything that tells me Cain would beat Nog in his prime, he wouldn't be able to KO him and Nog would more then likely submit him. Chuck would not lose to Lyoto, I say that with the most supreme confidence.



Exactly, can anyone point to any concrete examples of something that fighters do better now than they did before? Not differently, because obviously Cro Cop and Dos Santos don't have the exact same style. But on the whole they fight the same way.
postman
3/8/10 4:36:47PM
Whos a greatest QB of all time?
a: Otto Graham
b: Johnny Unitas
c: Joe Montana
d: Peyton Manning

It happens in every sport.
seanfu
3/8/10 5:09:55PM

Posted by bjj1605


Posted by seanfu

GSP from 3 years ago would kill prime Hughes easily

Lyoto would kill Prime Chuck easily (I think)

Anderson is just anderson so that's not fair, but Marquart from today would kill champ Franklin.

Lesnar, Dos Santos, Mir, maybe Cain would all obviously destry big tim during timmys roid rage days. And they would take out pretty much everyone from the old guard of HW except prime Fedor and I think most could beat prime Nog.

Obviously any of the top 10 LW's today could destry any of th old top 10's unless their name is Penn.

You can argue all you want but the fact is 90 percent of the new prime stars would kill the old p4p champs.

Put old Chuck against Lyoto and see what happens. Same with a lot of the top 8 in that division. Prides ring, rules, and gloves are another story, but being contested in the cage see who would win.

25 year old undeveloped Josh Koscheck would've likely beaten prime champ Hughes. so yeah.

The generation of 2014 is just absolutely scary to think about. Because that should be the time when the guard is in the middle of changing. Who will be the first ones to dominate anderson, brock, gsp, or bj in their divisions? Scary.



Welll you may think its obvious but I completely disagree. Unfortunately we can't match fighters from the past with fighters from the future so we'll never know for sure.

GSP did NOT beat hughes the first time they fought. He lost by arm bar in the first round. And considering what a powerful and explosive wrestler Matt Hughes was I think he would run through your afro-boy.

I think prime Chuck would KTFO of lyoto Machida.

Franklin is one guy I might agree with you on. I don't think that he's lost anything, I just think the UFC MW division was weak when he was champ.

I think at HW most of the current guys would have as much trouble with Big Tim (when he was on roids) as everyone did back then. I think AA could beat any of the Top 10 in his Prime.

LW was a weak division in the past, but BJ Penn, Caol Uno, Yves Edwards, Josh Thomson, Jens Pulver, and Sean Sherk could all hang with any of the stars today in their Primes.

I'll say again. Kickboxing five or ten years ago isn't really any worse than kickboxing today. Guys who were good at it then (Cro Cop, Guy Mezger, Chuck Liddell) would be good at it today. Same goes for wrestling or jiu jitsu. The techniques don't change, at least not very much. And I think it is absurd to assume that fighters will keep getting better and better. When does that end?

Maybe its hard to understand if you're newer to the sport.



GSP DOMINATED Hughes the first time they fought untill the armbar, and that was GSP at half the talent he has currently.

Chuck was a beast, but his oponents had to chase him, Lyoto could pick him apart. Chuck knocked out a bunch of ground fighters. Never beat top strikers. Overeem was nothing compared to today, and he rocked Chuck bad in the fight. Guy Mezger basically knocked Chuck clean out before Chuck came back for the win. He didn't even beat Rampage back when Rampage was not in Rampages prime whatsoever.

Tim never faced many top wrestlers, and if the wrestlers put him down he had no subs or chance to get up.

I think 2005/7 Randy could still hang with top 205ers.

Look at Jon Jones, he has at least 4 years to grow in talent. The end. That is an example of the new blood being more talented.

185 and up aren't really 4 dimentional fighters yet, most are good at 2 things. So they have more room to grow for a long time.
tdietel01
3/8/10 6:16:41PM
I think the sport is evolving and therefore the fighters are better. fighters are alot more complete now and they will continue to get better. it happens in all sports. Im sure people will disagree but one sport i can think of would be football (american)the teams now are bigger stronger and faster than they have ever been. i dont think any of the championship teams form the older days can hang with the teams today, has alot to do with studying the game. has alot to do with recruiting and lots of other factors. people in MMA are watching tapes and training smarter now. recruiting top talent and mixing them into mma.
Jackelope
3/8/10 6:47:05PM
IMO it would be an ignorant statement to say that the fighters of today aren't better skillset wise than the fighters of yesterday.

Of course they're better. Training methods have improved, diets and workouts have improved, new techniques have been developed (Tanner elbows, Couture dirty boxing, etc.) It is the nature of any sport or any thing really to progress. If you think training methods haven't improved then you've either not spent enough time in gyms, not watched enough MMA, or you're just blindly hanging on to the past. It happens in every single sport. It is the natural evolution of competition.

Does that mean the fighters of yesterday can't compete with the fighters of today? Not really. Styles make fights and there are still good matchups for many of those guys. I believe the Coutures, Liddells and Hughes of the world have definitely seen their fair share of weathering on their bones and as a result have lost a step here or a step there which contributes to the fact that they've been "passed by". Still, though... wrestling wise I would put Couture or Hughes from 2005 up against anyone in the sport today. Standup wise I feel the same about guys like Crocop. Jiu jitsu wise Big Nog is still a freaking legend. The only thing is, when you take the game as a whole and cross-training into account I have to agree that in some regards these guys have been passed by. The newer fighters are more well rounded.
bjj1605
3/8/10 8:08:47PM

Posted by Jackelope

IMO it would be an ignorant statement to say that the fighters of today aren't better skillset wise than the fighters of yesterday.

Of course they're better. Training methods have improved, diets and workouts have improved, new techniques have been developed (Tanner elbows, Couture dirty boxing, etc.) It is the nature of any sport or any thing really to progress. If you think training methods haven't improved then you've either not spent enough time in gyms, not watched enough MMA, or you're just blindly hanging on to the past. It happens in every single sport. It is the natural evolution of competition.

Does that mean the fighters of yesterday can't compete with the fighters of today? Not really. Styles make fights and there are still good matchups for many of those guys. I believe the Coutures, Liddells and Hughes of the world have definitely seen their fair share of weathering on their bones and as a result have lost a step here or a step there which contributes to the fact that they've been "passed by". Still, though... wrestling wise I would put Couture or Hughes from 2005 up against anyone in the sport today. Standup wise I feel the same about guys like Crocop. Jiu jitsu wise Big Nog is still a freaking legend. The only thing is, when you take the game as a whole and cross-training into account I have to agree that in some regards these guys have been passed by. The newer fighters are more well rounded.



I agree that on a whole the fighters are better (I believe I mentioned that above) but I don't think that the stars of yesterday couldn't hang with the best of today. It's that the talent pool is deeper not that the talent its self is better. Like you said, Cro Cop, Couture, Hughes, Big Nog... they have incredible skills.

I do agree that training techniques have improved (as far as diet, strength, and conditioning go) but not that fighting it's self has changed.

If you exposed Chuck Liddell, Cro Cop, Couture, Hughes, or Big Nog to the same conditions as fighters today, they would still be dominant fighters.
warglory
3/8/10 10:21:46PM

Posted by bjj1605

I agree that on a whole the fighters are better (I believe I mentioned that above) but I don't think that the stars of yesterday couldn't hang with the best of today. It's that the talent pool is deeper not that the talent its self is better. Like you said, Cro Cop, Couture, Hughes, Big Nog... they have incredible skills.

I do agree that training techniques have improved (as far as diet, strength, and conditioning go) but not that fighting it's self has changed.

If you exposed Chuck Liddell, Cro Cop, Couture, Hughes, or Big Nog to the same conditions as fighters today, they would still be dominant fighters.



I'm sorry but I just don't understand your logic. You admit that fighters are better today, but you contend that this is as a result of a deeper talent pool, yet all the fighters you reference have fought continuously through the same pool, and most have come up short against blue chip talent. The exceptions? Couture and Wandy believe it or not. Couture has always been a student of the game, and I believe Wandy is beginning to realize that his PRIDE style is obsolete and took on a fantastic gameplan against Bisping, which won back him back a ton of credibility.

Hughes, Liddell and Big Nog are all still fantastic athletes, but the caliber of fighter they are facing these days makes them obsolete because they refuse to evolve; all three of these guys, and so many others, fight the exact same way they have always fought. Couture is one of the oldest fighters around, yet he is still considered a title contender, because he refuses to be set in his ways.

Prime Chuck Liddell would get eliminated by prime Lyoto Machida, because prime Chuck Liddell is the exact same fighter as 2010 Chuck Liddell.

bjj1605
3/9/10 1:27:00AM

Posted by warglory


Posted by bjj1605

I agree that on a whole the fighters are better (I believe I mentioned that above) but I don't think that the stars of yesterday couldn't hang with the best of today. It's that the talent pool is deeper not that the talent its self is better. Like you said, Cro Cop, Couture, Hughes, Big Nog... they have incredible skills.

I do agree that training techniques have improved (as far as diet, strength, and conditioning go) but not that fighting it's self has changed.

If you exposed Chuck Liddell, Cro Cop, Couture, Hughes, or Big Nog to the same conditions as fighters today, they would still be dominant fighters.



I'm sorry but I just don't understand your logic. You admit that fighters are better today, but you contend that this is as a result of a deeper talent pool, yet all the fighters you reference have fought continuously through the same pool, and most have come up short against blue chip talent. The exceptions? Couture and Wandy believe it or not. Couture has always been a student of the game, and I believe Wandy is beginning to realize that his PRIDE style is obsolete and took on a fantastic gameplan against Bisping, which won back him back a ton of credibility.

Hughes, Liddell and Big Nog are all still fantastic athletes, but the caliber of fighter they are facing these days makes them obsolete because they refuse to evolve; all three of these guys, and so many others, fight the exact same way they have always fought. Couture is one of the oldest fighters around, yet he is still considered a title contender, because he refuses to be set in his ways.

Prime Chuck Liddell would get eliminated by prime Lyoto Machida, because prime Chuck Liddell is the exact same fighter as 2010 Chuck Liddell.




I think your second and last sentences hear hurt your credibility. It has nothing to do with evolution, and thats the point I'm making. The reason Chuck today you lose to Machida while Prime Chuck wouldn't is because Chuck is older and worn down.

I didn't admit that fighters today are better. In fact the whole purpose of this thread is to argue the opposite. I think that all of the old stars are just as good as the new stars, but the talent pool as a whole is deeper.

To explain my logic (since you don't understand it) I'll use an actual pool as a metaphor. What I'm saying is that the pool is deeper (more water) that doesn't mean the water it's self is any purer. And like water fighting doesn't change over the years. Mankind has been fighting for tens of thousands of years.

So the old water isn't as good as the new water because it's dirty. That doesn't mean it wasn't as good when it was clean. But at the end of the day water is water and it can only ever be so pure, now or ten years ago.

was that a shitty analogy or does it make sense to you now?
BustedKnuckle
3/9/10 8:32:15PM
Trough and through it a young mans game. Expeirience plays its part. but only goes so far. A Guy, up in age that avoided a lot of "wars" is better off. But the sheer wear and tear of training day in and day out will grind out the toughest of men. The fights are not easy and guys like Randy and NOG who are in many wars hurts em but training IMO has a lot to do with it!
warglory
3/9/10 9:09:11PM

Posted by bjj1605


Posted by warglory


Posted by bjj1605

I agree that on a whole the fighters are better (I believe I mentioned that above) but I don't think that the stars of yesterday couldn't hang with the best of today. It's that the talent pool is deeper not that the talent its self is better. Like you said, Cro Cop, Couture, Hughes, Big Nog... they have incredible skills.

I do agree that training techniques have improved (as far as diet, strength, and conditioning go) but not that fighting it's self has changed.

If you exposed Chuck Liddell, Cro Cop, Couture, Hughes, or Big Nog to the same conditions as fighters today, they would still be dominant fighters.



I'm sorry but I just don't understand your logic. You admit that fighters are better today, but you contend that this is as a result of a deeper talent pool, yet all the fighters you reference have fought continuously through the same pool, and most have come up short against blue chip talent. The exceptions? Couture and Wandy believe it or not. Couture has always been a student of the game, and I believe Wandy is beginning to realize that his PRIDE style is obsolete and took on a fantastic gameplan against Bisping, which won back him back a ton of credibility.

Hughes, Liddell and Big Nog are all still fantastic athletes, but the caliber of fighter they are facing these days makes them obsolete because they refuse to evolve; all three of these guys, and so many others, fight the exact same way they have always fought. Couture is one of the oldest fighters around, yet he is still considered a title contender, because he refuses to be set in his ways.

Prime Chuck Liddell would get eliminated by prime Lyoto Machida, because prime Chuck Liddell is the exact same fighter as 2010 Chuck Liddell.




I think your second and last sentences hear hurt your credibility. It has nothing to do with evolution, and thats the point I'm making. The reason Chuck today you lose to Machida while Prime Chuck wouldn't is because Chuck is older and worn down.

I didn't admit that fighters today are better. In fact the whole purpose of this thread is to argue the opposite. I think that all of the old stars are just as good as the new stars, but the talent pool as a whole is deeper.

To explain my logic (since you don't understand it) I'll use an actual pool as a metaphor. What I'm saying is that the pool is deeper (more water) that doesn't mean the water it's self is any purer. And like water fighting doesn't change over the years. Mankind has been fighting for tens of thousands of years.

So the old water isn't as good as the new water because it's dirty. That doesn't mean it wasn't as good when it was clean. But at the end of the day water is water and it can only ever be so pure, now or ten years ago.

was that a shitty analogy or does it make sense to you now?



So you're saying that one dimensional Royce Gracie would have the tools to beat BJ Penn? Royce was great in his time, because the guys he fought had no clue how to counter him. Next came the wrestlers, etc etc. Threats arrive, people learn to adapt to those threats and become better eventually leading to the point when those fighters become bested by a new breed who have adapted their techniques with new and improved ones.

The Chuck Liddell who beat Randy Couture has been losing badly because his technique hasn't changed one bit since he became champion. Basically, had Keith Jardine of today fought Chuck Liddell in 2006, Jardine would be champion. When I look at Chuck's record during his prime, I don't see much diversity in his catalog of opponents until he lost to Rampage for the second time when Chuck was tossed to the wolves of the up and comers.
telnights
3/10/10 12:14:30AM
I agree with Jackelope on this. Not much to add that hasn't already been said.
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