The MMA world has seen Karate based fighters reach the pinnacle of the sport before, see Lyoto Machida. But there is a lot of talk these days about those who are fighting with that wide stance, and who are using their movement and various kicks to set up finishes.
McGregor has become on of the biggest names in the game using this approach, and Stephen Thompson has used similar tactics to become of the UFC’s top welterweights. Justin Scoggins, a former training partner of Thompson, could be making a run at 125. Other fighters are also looking into movement coaches and adding new kicks–techniques that stem from traditional martial arts like Karate and Taekwondo– to their arsenal.
While there’s no denying their success, some have questioned whether this style of fighter is really the prototype for the next wave of champions. Well, Alvarez has already said he believes there’s an easy path to defeating McGregor, and that’s by taking him to the ground. On MMA Junkie.com Radio, the former Bellator champ also argued this (quote via MMA Junkie.com):
“You know, I think it’s a matter of keeping guys guessing,” Alvarez said. “In this division, you can’t be one-dimensional. You can’t only have one trick. MMA is becoming a lot of these new school karate guys who have no ground. I felt like there are a lot of guys who are being pushed that way. They’re these karate guys with karate backgrounds and they’ve never been to a jiu-jitsu class, they’ve never wrestled for any club at all. They do a lot of fancy flip kicks and stuff like that that aren’t really effective in a fundamental fight. I feel like it’s my job, and a couple of other old school veterans’ job, to beat these guys out and let people know that the flashy stuff doesn’t work in a real, fundamental fight.”
Now sure, we all know that McGregor has spent a lot of time training in jiu-jitsu, and Thompson has too. Are they Demian Maia? No. But, it will be interesting to see if more of their opponents moving forward focus more on takedowns. Chad Mendes did against McGregor and was having a lot of success by doing so. Alvarez, of course, went this route against Anthony Pettis, and earned a split decision win over the vaunted striker.
McGregor is set to battle one of the most complete fighters in the game on March 5th, as he’ll take on lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos.