Mixed Martial Arts
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By In Mixed Martial Arts

Under the Microscope: Analyzing Heavyweight Greats

“Heavyweight champions have always been bequeathed the title “Baddest Man on the Planet,” — and for good reason: With great size comes great power, and nothing is more captivating than feeling the ground quake beneath titanic warriors duking it out.

Heavyweight has been a steadily volatile division, with championship belts changing hands like batons. As such, compiling the shortlist was no easy task. Five men — Tim Sylvia, Frank Mir, Mark Coleman, Alistair Overeem and Don Frye — barely missed the cut, even though they could all be easily justified in these ranks. As such, they are considered Greatest of All-Time candidates, despite not being on the list. Ultimately, this is a statistical analysis first and foremost, and all of the honorable exclusions were found lacking in the same basic principal: Their win-loss ratios, compared to the strength of opponents faced, were lower than everyone else. Meaning, they had the worst records when accounting for the records of their opponents. The only exception to that rule was Randy Couture, whose ungodly record in title fights buoyed him into the final considerations. It is a tough pill to swallow, but decisions must be made.

On a final note of housekeeping, many of these G.O.A.T. hopefuls participated in various open-weight fights. These were only counted if their opponent weighed in above 206 pounds for the fight. As always, only fights that occurred in major organizations or against high-profile opponents counted towards these numbers, the only exception being the total winning streak. A case is made for each fighter as the Greatest of All-Time, and then those arguments are turned on their heads to present the counterweight. The aggregate of both biases will clear the air or stir up more dust. Either way, let the debates begin…”

 

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

Passing Torches Through Shrinking Windows

“Mixed martial arts is an unforgiving sport.

Stephen Thompson on Saturday lived up to his “Wonderboy” moniker when he effortlessly breezed through former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks via first-round stoppage. It was a signature win for Thompson, one that will decorate his highlight reel until the end of his career; and while his victory represents a welcome shakeup to a division that has been gridlocked in spectacular evenness at the top, Thompson’s coming-out party is the obverse of Hendricks’ closing window.

It’s funny. Thompson’s three-year, six-fight winning streak will likely be described as a “meteoric rise,” which is ironic when juxtaposed with Hendricks’ precipitous descent and crash — a more accurate depiction of true meteoric trajectory…”

 

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

Sage Advice

“It was hard to miss the glow of delighted schadenfreude from social media, as Sage Northcutt tapped out to a Bryan Barberena arm-triangle at UFC on Fox 18 on Saturday in Newark, New Jersey. No judgment from me: Everyone enjoys this sport for their own reasons, and he provides more than enough fodder to draw the kind of sinister satisfaction from his defeat that he did. If anything, I feel bad for the people who took joy in his loss, for no other reason than the fact that this will be a short-lived source of happiness. At least, it should be.

Northcutt is good for the sport and not just because he’s a genuinely nice — if not supremely dorky — counterargument to the negative stereotypes prevalent in the fight game. More accurately, he’s a bellwether that the sport is moving in a good direction…”

 

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

The Prodigal Son Returns

“As an MMA writer, I try to be as objective and emotionally detached as possible. While I can proudly say I’ve checked my personal feelings at the keyboard — and many times gone about the sobering process of betraying them — the truth of the matter is that I’m still, at my core, a fan. So objectivity be damned: Quit playing games with my heart, B.J. Penn.

“The Prodigy” last week made his comeback official. In doing so, he sent fans everywhere jolts of excitement, anxiety and that feeling you get when you’re called to the principal’s office. I don’t know how to process it all…”

 

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

Cyborg and the Post-Rousey World

“When Ronda Rousey lost at UFC 193 in November, it felt like a defining moment. The biggest star in the sport went supernova, sending shockwaves into the MMA universe that have just begun to register.

Before her fateful collision with Holly Holm’s shin, Rousey put women’s MMA on the map. She quickly rose to become the first legitimate female draw in MMA and then transcended that label to become one of the biggest draws in combat sports period. However, what we are now coming to understand is that Rousey did not only bring women’s MMA to the forefront of public consciousness — she single-handedly held it there. The proof lies in the declining fan interest around Invicta Fighting Championships featherweight titleholder Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino…”

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