People who think they could have won the first UFCs

Discussion in 'MMA Forum' started by cross_trainer, Sep 15, 2021.

  1. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Bergeron Avatar Club Full Member

    Jun 30, 2005
    Watched UFC 3 again last night. It reinforced a lot of this.

    Gracie and Shamrock were easily the best fighters in that competition, and Shamrock was pretty moden. Both suffered serious enough injuries / exhaustion that they couldn't continue. As did Keith Hackney, despite beating Yarbrough. So three quarters of the WINNERS in their brackets couldn't continue on in the tournament. That's a lot of attrition.

    Christophe Leininger was a good judoka; ranked second in the US at the time. Shamrock just tossed him on the ground, pressed him against the fence , and beat on him. Leininger couldn't pull off any submissions, and his ground striking seemed a little ad hoc compared to Gracie. Leininger, even if competing today in his prime, would likely beat 99% of internet people in a grappling match.

    Two alternates competed in that tournament, and both of them showed the advantages of being fresh. Again, that's what a hypothetical time machined competitor would have to face. One of them also showed tenacious and effective takedown defense against Shamrock.

    Kimo knew some ground grappling by the time he faced Royce. Not enough, but more than nothing. He was very difficult to take down, and did a real number in Royce when they were both fresh.

    Roland Payne was also more experienced than a lot of "well rounded" amateurs today. Wrestling background plus full contact muay thai competition. He got poleaxed by a hybrid sport jj (point karate + sorta-judo) guy.
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  2. BCS8

    BCS8 Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Aug 21, 2012
    I think Shamrock would be more than good today and he was excellent in his time. If some schmuck on this forum could beat down on a prime Shamrock they shouldn't be wasting their time here and should be signing up for MMA tourneys instead.
  3. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Bergeron Avatar Club Full Member

    Jun 30, 2005
    Honestly, if they're as good as *Leininger*, they should probably be signing up for MMA tourneys.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2021
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  4. HellSpawn86

    HellSpawn86 Boxing Addict Full Member

    May 6, 2007
    The early UFC days would be hard for just any fighter to win because it was a tournament style and mostly big guys that dominated the tournament. However once they implemented weight classes and made the events focused around singular fights, the titles were definitely more winnable.

    I'll just say in the early 2000's I graduated college as a NCAA qualifier in wrestling and several of my buddies won UFC titles in specific weight classes. I used to train with them after college. We were not even the best wrestlers in college, novices in grappling, boxing, muay thai, but my buddies could become "world" champions in MMA? I used to wreck my team-mates in practice because our wrestling was comparable, but I grew up boxing and would wreck them on our feet and pound them on the ground. I'm pretty sure I would have won a title in 2010 in my weight class. If you looked at each weight class, the competition just wasn't as deep as boxing, wrestling, muay thai, jui jitsu. In all of those sports you had to train all of your life to be the best at it. MMA is still in it's infancy as a sport and it's gotten much better in a short period of time. Now that you have kids training in it we are going to see much better MMA fighters going forward.

    However fast forward 10 years the talent is just wayyy better. Cross training is at a whole other level and you actually see guys with well rounded technique and strategies in all areas in the fight game. The 2010 me would get beat up in todays environment, but I'd be competitive.
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  5. Brixton Bomber

    Brixton Bomber Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Sep 21, 2013
    Shamrock was immensely strong by all accounts of anyone who faced him. Like, gorilla strong. Hence why the Judoka couldn't do Jack, not to mention Ken's grappling skills themselves.

    Royce was the man back then. Wish he and Igor had fought.
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  6. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Bergeron Avatar Club Full Member

    Jun 30, 2005
    Yeah, I'd say if you were a former decorated amateur wrestler and were regularly beating UFC contenders in MMA sparring in 2010, you would have a better chance than 99% of the population. Though the weight class caveat you mentioned is still an issue -- I assume you were in the lighter weight classes?
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2021
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  7. ForemanJab

    ForemanJab Boxing Junkie Full Member

    May 8, 2014
    A washed up Shamrock with a torn ACL gave Tito a hard fight.
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  8. mirkofilipovic

    mirkofilipovic ESB Management Full Member

    Jan 7, 2014
    Igor would have absolutely decimated Royce.
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  9. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Bergeron Avatar Club Full Member

    Jun 30, 2005
    Yes, although I don't think their peak periods overlapped enough. By the time Vovchanchyn was wrecking vale tudo tournaments and prepared for UFC 11, Royce had already left the UFC, and MMA was already evolving beyond BJJ. You had the first true post-Gracie athlete/fighters at that point - Vovchanchyn, Frye, Coleman, and soon Kerr.

    Much trickier to figure out who could have beaten the Gracies back in '93 or so. There aren't many options.