How to Spot a Champion UFC Fighter

UFC Champions
TORRENCE, CA - FEBRUARY 24: UFC championship belt is on display during a news conference between UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor and lightweight contender Nate Diaz at UFC Gym February 24, 2016, in Torrance, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The allure of UFC, a relative newcomer to the world of popular sports and entertainment, is its unpredictability. That, however, has never stopped us from betting on sports or speculating on what the outcome of any fight might be. Moreover, there are fighters that have an aura of greatness about them. They are champions. How do you spot them?

It’s very easy to see that each fighter that competes in the UFC is a physical specimen that is primed for performance. That fact is less a consequence of genetic blessing and more a result of dedicated training, temperament and will. A champion UFC fighter is committed to making sure their body is a well-oiled machine. So what qualities do you need to look out for in a genuine contender? What do the likes of Jon Jones, Stipe Miocic, Adesanya, Khabib, Cejudo and Nunes have in common?

Fighting Style

MMA is restricted to one style of fighting and involves a medley of disciplines that amount to about 15 different fighting styles. While a fighter’s ability to use any given style in a particular moment to gain the upper hand against their opponent is the key, a brief history of UFC champions suggests that some styles may have an advantage.

Since the introduction of championships in 1997, there have been 81 champions. Of the 81 gladiators to have worn the belt 65% of them (53 out of 81) have come from a background of grappling. Therefore, while it is absolutely necessary to be proficient in striking (Boxing, Muay Thai), takedowns (Wrestling, Judo) and submissions (Jiu-Jitsu), expertise in grappling is almost a certain indicator championship quality.

Fighting Camp

Now, this isn’t a hard and fast rule because they have been real contenders (some even champions) who haven’t come out of a fighting camp of any real pedigree but still excelled.

That aside, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence supporting that value of a good fighting camp with numerous UFC champions have come from them – examples include Demetrious Johnson, Anthony Pettis, Jose Aldo and Renan Barao.

Some great fighting camps to look out for include:

  • Nova Uniao
  • Team Alpha Male
  • AMC Pankration
  • Roufusport
  • Alliance MMA
  • Team Nogueira

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