It has been a long time since the dawn of the UFC and this MMA game has changed and evolved significantly over the last few decades. The vision of creating a tournament of super fighters from various martial arts, something resembling a sort of Mortal Kombat deal, has come to fruition in an unexpected way. This tournament has become more organized, more professional, and more appealing for martial arts enthusiasts worldwide, generating billions of dollars in the process. Many fighters, like Conor McGregor became notorious superstars or celebrities, especially since various social media became involved in covering UFC events. Some names have even become legends, with unprecedented winning streaks, superb fighting techniques, and legendary fights that stood the test of time.
If you talk about that old school of fighting there is no one who represents that relentless spirit of the old guard better than Randy Couture. This guy has been there pretty much since the beginning and had to earn his stripes in a highly competitive era.
After one of the most shocking upsets in the history of combat sports when he defeated Vitor Belfort in 1997, he went on a streak of championship fights that hasn't been achieved ever since. All in all, he managed to hold titles in two divisions simultaneously, in the heavyweight and light heavy classes. Now 58, he is known for his persistence, coming back to reclaim his titles and utilizing his wrestling skills to brutally crush his opponents.
Although he claims to be retired, this 33 year old fighter is a representative of a younger generation of hungry combatants who want their piece of cake too. He is often compared with Floyd Mayweather due to his unbroken winning streak and dominance inside his dominion. Khabib wears down his opponents with wrestling moves while finishing them with submission holds like a guillotine or an armbar. No one has ever come close to even knocking him down, not even Conor McGregor himself, although he was bragging very hard before their October 2018 clash about bringing Nurmagomedov to his knees. If Khabib ever comes back from retirements, you shouldn’t bet your money on any of his opponents unless he is fighting with his hands tied behind his back.
It is a shame that Khabib is not a heavyweight because then his legacy would be even more spectacular than it is now. Crushing his opponents made him a strong favorite at any casino, with his odds for losing becoming more than minimal. Players who love a wager should 2 games rather than wasting their money betting against Nurmagomedov.
Luckily, he is retired now, which makes lightweight championship bouts less predictable and more exciting to watch. As we wait for some new Khabib to emerge we can still count on other fighters like Dustin Poirier and Charles Oliveira for bringing more excitement and breathtaking fights to UFC.
Despite his name becoming a synonym for legal troubles or controversies regarding the usage of illegal enchantment drugs, he is still the undisputed champion like no other. He has always managed to come back from all crises and emerge victorious over such names as Daniel Cormier or Alex Gustafsson in bouts that have since become legendary. Armed with incredible punching power, quick reflexes, and his ability to adjust to his opponents, he remains one powerhouse to be reckoned with.
Although he expressed his desire to move into the heavyweight division, his fans have a hard time imagining him gaining an extra 20 pounds so he could face Ciryl Gane or Stipe Miocic. If he decides to crossover, those matches will surely be like Clash of the Titans events, so we can’t wait for them to happen as our present heavyweight division desperately needs their new king.
There are so many talented young fighters who are elevating mixed martial arts to some new rights as we speak, and some are future Hall of Fame members. Despite this game progressing constantly, we must not forget those who paved that way for younger generations by making this sport what it is today. Champions like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Randy Couture brought unprecedented skills and sportsmanship into their contests thus making UFC a reputable fighting organization. New fighters who are up-and-coming stars, like Joaquin Buckley or Calvin Kattar have soaked up their experience and used their careers as a blueprint for success. These legends’ imprint on this fighting game is yet to be determined in years to come as their achievements set a pedestal for others to follow or try to better.