That part's new, and it's fine to speculate about the effect that it will have on the sport, but it's still just speculation. It's not a trend.
When these gyms start producing guys that are competitive, we'll talk more about it, but right now, they're not making an impact.
Frankly, I think being a focussed striker will still mean something in MMA. It certainly does the way the sport is now, and I can't see a guy with no traditional background competing with B.J. Penn or Anderson Silva or Jose Aldo. Or, for that matter, Brock Lesnar. Stylistically, I just don't see it.
Again, I train a lot of kids in BJJ and judo and have started teaching MMA to those who are interested. The thing that they figure out quickly, when they roll with me or one of the guys who has a better ground game than I do is that you have to put the gi on, you have to do 5000 armbars and 5000 repetitions of o goshi and 5000 double legs. You have to get back to the fundamentals of the technique if you want to be able to apply it at all in MMA.
You can't just learn to grapple in an MMA setting and expect to be submitting people constantly. It's not an effective methodology for teaching, and the MMA community knows that. There's a reason why toughmen like Bobby Hoffman and Dan Bobbish were never competitive.
Sure, we'll see where he stands in five years. Like I said, he's a good prospect. But is he going to make a run at the title anytime soon? No. Is he going to have a serious impact on the top ten? No.
So, when that time comes, he might very well be someone worth talking about in the context of trends in MMA. Right now, he's not.
No, because one guy isn't a trend.
There was, for a long time, one successful judoka in MMA outside of Japan (Karo Parisyan) but we were all still skeptical that judo could be made to work in American MMA. It turns out, at least so far, that the skepticism was warranted. Karo was an exception, not a rule.
Again, I want to be clear: Rich is a single case in the sport. We don't have a trend to look at. We have a few fights. So it's all speculative.
When we start to see more guys like that, we can talk more, but right now, it's really impossible to say with any certainty.
But what about Takanori Gomi, Evan Tanner, Nate Marquardt? (Nate started with BJJ but mixed that with Kickboxing, Kenpo and Wing Chun at a very young age already.. but I think you can still call his background BJJ).
What about Michael Bisping??
Aren't those guys all true MMA fighters right from the beginning? I think you could call them all MMA fighters. Nobody had a significant background before if I am not wrong. Nate is probably a border case here.. but all the others??
I think there are more Fighters we have already seen, who don't have this typical Martial Arts background.
I don't really believe, that Rich is a single case here.
And now the scary thing again! Those guys I mentioned started there training at a time where they were no MMA gyms. Today you find them on every single corner already. It still worrys me.. and I think you can already see the trend wich tend to the MMA gyms. (Not fighters based)
Kids grow up playing baseball and end up being pro football players, grow up on the swim team and up running track in college. Definitely we will have people training MMA from a young age but we'll still see people coming into MMA with backgrounds in other sports or disciplines.
Very true! And a mix makes everything even nicer. I just hope that traditional Martial Art will keep his place in the Sport.