The worlds best fighter

Who is the worlds best fighter?

This question has always been raised in the world of combat Sports.
In antiquity the so-called Pankration decided whether the best boxer or the best wrestler could claim this title. But nowadays with the variety of different martial arts the question is much more difficult to answer. At least for a long time.

Pankration in der Antike
Antique pancration

Despite the variety of martial arts, generally the heavy weight world’s champion of boxing was regarded as the best „fighter“. But because Boxing is very “limited” in regard to the permitted attacking possibilities, it is not a big surprise that all the Judokas, Karatekas, wrestlers and others were highly indignant about this opinion and the conception of the boxing world.

It surely was due to the popularity of boxing that all the other fight styles have really been neglected and smiled at a little condescendingly.
More and more people wondered what would happen if a boxer meets a wrestler or a Judoka or a Karateka or or or .. And more and more fighters were eager to prove to the world that they could finally defeat a boxer without problems.

As the curiosity grew, Rorion Gracie, a brazilian immigrant who ran a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school in California, and Art Davie, an advertising man, brought a tournament together to settle this elementary question which interested the whole martial arts community.

Take two kick boxers, one Savate Black Belt, one Karateka, one shootfigher/wrestler, one Sumo-guy, one BJJ Black Belt and one professional boxer, push the marketing machinery with martial slogans (There are no rules!) and … voilà .. what you get is the first event of UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship).

Admittedly there already existed other events at the same time just as Vale Tudo in Brazil and Pancrase (yes, pancrase! Like “Pankration”) fights in Japan. But the Brazilian Fights took place in the underground and the Japanese Fights have always been rumoured to be rather arranged than real fights. At least a few.

The result of this first UFC fight was a punch in the face of the self-assured boxing world when Art Jimmerson (ok, he has definitely not been the best choice for this fight) who started the fight with only one(!) boxing glove, gave up after two minutes against BJJ Black Belt Royce Gracie – he has been bound to lose right from the start!

The rest is history. Gracie won 3 of the first 4 UFC tournaments which meant that a BJJ fighter was the best fighter of the world at this time.
In the following years MMA has been more or less a battle between fighters of different styles. Kickboxers versus wrestlers, BJJs versus Karateka, Judoka versus Muay Thai Fighters and so on.

But MMA changed through the years. If a fighter intended to be successful in the MMA world it was not enough to know one style or to rely on one style any more. He had to be good in every relevant style and to be prepared for every kind of attack.

Kick boxers, wrestlers, BJJs etc. suddenly trained with each other and profited from them. And the rapid development of the sports did not have to be held back any more so.

MMA is no longer only a generic term of the different fight styles which compete with each other.
MMA has become even a martial art of its own by now.

The king discipline in the martial arts circus.

The MMA Fighter is virtually the decathlete of the martial arts.

When we remember our initial question (who is the worlds best fighter?) … there can only be one correct answer:

It is not the best BJJ-practicioner, not the best Judoka, not the best Karateka, not the best wrestler and not the best boxer.
It is the one who combines and uses all these fight styles.

The worlds best fighter is the current best mma-fighter!

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