Originally Posted by Big Red
I think the guys back then were pure fighters compared to now days. maybe 1 in a 1000 mma fighers now days would be willing to compete in mma back in the mid 90s, those guys were a rare breed. There were less rules no money or fame. So the only reason they were doing it was because they wanted to be in no holds bars fights. I was around Judokas and Wrestlers and Kickboxers and these guys wanted no part of mma fights back then.
Yeah no doubt most guys now wouldn't want to scrap in unsanctioned, unregulated, barely legal, "no-holds-barred" events basically for free. And why would they?
But other guys in the modern era - Nick Diaz, Maldonado, shit, even ****ing Roy Nelson, in all likelihood - they don't give a shit. They'll fight anybody, they love the fight. BJ Penn would have fought in those old tournaments. Some guys just grow up fighting on the streets, they're fighting their whole lives and that's what they want to do.
Even someone who is perceived as somewhat of a pampered, entitled guy - Jon Jones - he demonstrated how tough he is against Belfort when he absolutely refused to tap even as his elbow was hyperextended. He bit down and gritted it out - he preferred to literally have his arm snapped rather than lose the fight. That's a real fighter no matter how you slice it. Would he have wanted to commit himself to such a fringe - and frankly, stupid - career path if he was around back in the day? Probably not - he had other, better options. Does that mean he's any less tough or has less love of the fight? Nope.
Saying that the likes of Liddell and Rampage are any tougher or more of a "real" fighter than Diaz or Maldonado simply because Chuck and Rampage came up in an era where the sport was underground is just ridiculous IMO. It's applying a standard that none of the modern guys can ever live up to, because none of them were ever in that situation where the "sport" was an underground irrelevancy.