As I’ve said before, it takes a lot to get me excited for a fight. Something more than just two athletes willing to throw down in the cage, even if they happen to be “The Best Fighters In the World”. I need more.
I need a back story, I need existential importance. And I’ve found it.
Two fights in the UFC’s future offer this level of intrigue. Lesnar vs. Velasquez and Silva vs. Belfort. In both cases,
the challengers are of particular interest because of the skill sets they bring to the game, but perhaps even more compelling are the questions posed by the reining Champions.
There is a mystique, a mythos if you will, that begins to affix itself to certain fighters, and to champions in particular. An aura that is even larger and more imposing than the man himself. We’ve seen this before, it has happened in other sports with the Chicago Bulls during the Jordan era, or even on the world stage with the Roman Empire.
The mind begins to move away from thinking about how to defeat these formidable tyrants and begins to fixate on whether or not victory is possible at all.
There was a time, a brief moment, where Brock Lesnar and Anderson Silva enjoyed this God like status.
A time where the world wondered, who, if anyone, could possibly stand a chance against these mythological creatures, these Demons who rule the UFC world. But that facade has been shattered like a paper dragon’s glass jaw. Carwin and Sonnen, in their last outings were able to find chinks in the Champions seemingly impenetrable armor, exposing them for what they really are… mere mortals… OR ARE THEY?!?!
Lesnar has been defeated before, as has been Silva. But Lesnar has since avenged his loss in dominant and unquestionable style, showing his ability to adapt, grow and improve. Silva’s losses came primarily toward the beginning of his career, one resulting from a flying scissors heel lock that has to be considered somewhat of an anomaly, minor speed bumps on his ascension to the UFC title belt.
But the recent, near brushes with disaster have cast a new light on these two titans of the MMA world. There are clear signs of wear, wisps of blood in a sea of hungry sharks. It would seem that every man has his kryptonite.
Presently, for Lesnar that kryptonite comes in the form of fast moving, hard hitting strikers with enough gas in their tank to push him beyond his known limits. And
Cain Velasquez fits that bill to a T. It is almost as if fate has fashioned Cain for this very purpose. Like the scene in Kill Bill when Hattori Hanzo says to Uma Thurman, “If on your journey, you should encounter God, God will be cut.”
Silva seems to have trouble with competent strikers, who can impose their will, pressure him and take him to the ground. Belfort possesses many of these skills although his age and spotty record make him a less potent piece of kryptonite. It remains to be seen if such a substance even has an effect on a spider man and yet, Belfort is a formidable threat to any fighter deified by the masses. There was a time when the Ax Murderer was perhaps the most feared fighter in the world. And yet he fell prey to the phenom, a fighter who’s only losses have come at the hands of some of the greatest MMA fighters of all time.
Will the Super Men of the UFC be stripped of their super power status, returned to the earth with the rest of us meager men? Will their super human abilities allow them to adapt and prepare for the instruments of destruction sent to end their dynasties?
Like it or not, these two champions have come down a rung, existing now as Demi-gods, and the irreverent grow impatient and covet their glory.
I can’t wait to see what happens next!