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Tag: MMA eras

The Eras of MMA (Part 3: The Modern Age, 2003-Present)

If you missed it, check out parts 1 and 2 of this series.

The Fedor Emelianenko Era: 3/03-present

Fedor’s dominance over MMA’s heavyweight division is such that, had he been born a few hundred years ago, they might have burned him for being a witch.  At least they might have tried, though he would certainly have armbarred the entire mob and then calmly collected their pitchforks.  Fedor is the rare fighter with devastating one-punch knockout power on the feet and deft submission skills off his back.  In other words, you are never really winning against Fedor; you’re just temporarily not losing. 

Fedor’s run through Pride’s heavyweight class was like Sherman’s March to the Sea, only much more efficient.  He beat everyone there was to beat and he did it convincingly.  His list of victims includes former UFC champs like Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski, as well as Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mark Coleman, and even Hong Man Choi.  In fact, the only barrier to Fedor’s continued reign of terror is his own refusal to sign with the UFC, where more heavyweights are waiting to be conquered.  Will he ever cave in and do to the UFC’s big men what he did to Pride’s?  It’s doubtful, though until he loses you really can’t begrudge him the title of the world’s best heavyweight.


The Eras of MMA (Part 1: The Pioneers, 1993-1999)

When Joe Rogan declared the beginning of “the Machida Era” at UFC 98, the Dragon became just the latest in a string of dominant fighters who have defined MMA and its development with their unique styles. In this sport, there always seems to be one or two guys who are way ahead of the pack, just waiting for everybody else to catch up. So we decided to go back and recreate MMA’s historical timeline by “era” — starting with you know who…

The Royce Gracie Era: November ‘93 – April ‘95

If the first UFC events were “infomercials for Gracie Jiu Jitsu," then Royce Gracie was the mothafuckin’ Slap Chop. Among all the dojo theorists and tough guys of dubious origin in the brackets at UFC 1-4, Royce was the only one who knew how to finish a fight in the real world, thanks to the grappling system his family had been honing for decades. And when martial arts enthusiasts saw the nondescript gi-clad fighter control opponents from his back and submit them with an arsenal of choke-holds and arm-locks, it was love at first sight.

Famously, the 170-pounder was chosen over his older, larger, and more intimidating-looking brother Rickson to represent the Gracie family in the UFC because Royce’s success would prove that a smaller man could beat larger ones through proper technique. Though Royce would take a five-year break from competition after his tedious 36-minute draw against Ken Shamrock at UFC 5, he’d fulfilled his objective by then: America had learned the Gracie name, and the BJJ phenomenon had officially begun.