When I started watching MMA there was already an established "hardcore" fan base and I never felt apart of it. My obsession began in 2005 watching whatever fights I could find online. As time has gone on, I'm starting to feel like the old man standing on his porch yelling at the neighborhood kids. I think I'm a hardcore now.
For today's rant, I'd like to exam the current state of MMA. The UFC is now firmly settled into it's third management group WME-ING and the landscape of the sport has changed dramatically in the later half of the past decade. There's uniforms, a serious broadcast television deal, and the fighters at the top are changing too.
There's been ton's of turn over as years have past, but the big names that dominated the landscape for the past 15 years are in flux. Anderson Silva is still fighting for reasons that are unclear. He's still good enough to compete in the middle of the pack, but why he does it and takes more damage leaves most scratching their heads. GSP has gracefully sailed off into the sunset, and we can all keep our fingers crossed that it stays that way. Fedor is fighting in the B league and he's a shell of the man that once was. Most recently Daniel Cormier has retired, and Jon Jones has dropped his light heavyweight belt which I see as an indication that we are entering a new phase in his career.
There's countless other retirements and career regressions that you can look to but since the fall of Chuck Liddell these seem to be the biggest landmarks. As the MMA landscape changes, the fans, media and promoters cling to old relics that should be respected but left alone.
While we watch fighter's like Anderson Silva, and Robbie Lawler perform at 1/4 scale of their peak potential why do we clamor to see a directionless Nick Diaz and a near AARP age Brock Lesnar return. I can understand the logic behind wanting to see Khabib fight GSP, though I disagree with it. I get it. It makes sense and there's a story line (however tired) of determining who the GOAT is. There's none of that with Brock or Nick Diaz. Nick Diaz was a high level fighter, but if you only judge him on his record he's not even close to the realm of GSP or Khabib. The same can be said for Brock Lesnar.
Brocks biggest achievement was beating Frank Mir. While Mir is a great fighter with a career to be proud of, that hasn't aged well. Imagine Brock at that time fighting a Stipe, Francis, or even a Derek Lewis. I just don't get the desire to see him compete. He's got a freak build and a career in the WWE. That's it.
We need to embrace the future and move towards the future and if those fighters really want to compete, let them do it in an appropriate environment, not the UFC.